Our Christmas play A Pudding For The Chimney Sweep from Spiderweb Musicals was filled with memorable characters; Mrs Perkins and the Pie Shop orphans, the well-to-do Mortimer family, bone-tired factory workers Anne and Widdop, villains Quigley, Boyle and Gradshaw and of course Jim; the poor, hungry climbing boy.

To help bring our scripted characters to life, we spent an afternoon developing our characters through hot-seating; taking turns in character to interview and be interviewed in the ‘hot-seat’. The actors asked each other questions, got thinking and used their imaginations to flesh out the details as to what sort of person their character was and how they had come to be where they were today. What came out was inspired…

 

Mrs Mortimer- Emelia King

“My name is Millicent Mortimer. I was born in London to Victoria and Reginald Sansford who were from Belgravia. I was an only child and wished for a sibling so my mother and father bought me a Dalmatian, ‘Rose’ and a horse, ‘Midnight’ who was stabled in our country estate in Essex.
I was rich, posh and spoilt with a private tutor and all. Then when I was seventeen I went to a ball and met Mr Mortimer, charming son of Mr and Mrs Mortimer and it was arranged for us to be married. We were married in a church with royalty in attendance. I was now Mrs Millicent Mortimer of the Mortimer family. Then, one year later we had a child, Miss Charlotte Mortimer and we hired a nanny, Alice Jones, to look after her.
We moved to Mortimer Hall then and I filled my days with shopping, relaxing, going to beauty spas and more, then of course going out to lunch with friends and doing jobs for the church committee.
So every two years we had a baby. On the third child we had to get another nanny, Iris Blumfeld. Of course, when Mama and Papa died when Charlotte was a baby, I inherited the family estates and family wealth.
I now have six children: Charlotte, Edward, Eleanor, Grace, Alice and Beatrice. My husband inherited the factory, Mortimer’s Mill. And that is my life up till now”.

 

Bob- Nico Murphy

Once upon a time there was a baby named Boblex Frank Puff but everyone just called him Bob. Bob was born into a rich family that owned all of the sheep and cotton industry and the wood industry, they had a lot of money. They had a lot of stuff, I’m talking big mansion, gold stuff and jewelry.
But one day there was a disease that poisoned all the sheep and cotton plants and if all of this wasn’t bad enough, millions of termites had come out of nowhere and had started eating all the wood. Mrs and Mr Puff where devastated they were losing a lot of money because they had accidentally poisoned hundreds of people across the globe. Before you could say sorry, violent protesters were crowded around their house. The next day the Puffs mansion was on fire so they floated little Bob down a stream with a note saying ‘please take me in, I need a home’.
After many days a young woman was washing her clothes in the river when she saw him. Then she said ‘what… how… why?’ Anyway, Bob got adopted by the women named Miss Perkins, and they lived happily ever after. Until now when Miss Perkins and her children (all of them have been adopted) have to embark on a new adventure finding chimney sweeps catching villains and getting back the secret recipe. This is Boblex Frank Puffs story. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Mrs Widdop- Heather Ward

“My name is Mrs Margorie Widdop. I had a husband, so yes, there was a Mr Widdop.
I had triplets, two girls and a boy. Oh that takes me back to when they were just three small bairns… but sadly memories are all I have now. It is a sad tale of how I lost my husband and children.
My husband was, like me, an accounts manager but one day he was out too late drinking. He got drunk and tried to burn down the workhouse but sadly his coat caught the flames and he was no more.
As for my children, when the war started they were evacuees but when they got taken away a rail broke and the train got wrecked by a bomb. A few escaped, but my three; Annie, Lila and John, were not of the few that survived.
Anyway, after my husband died I took over his job but of course the wages were even less for women than they were for men, especially since nasty Mr Gradshaw had been fiddling the accounts. I should know.
I lost my husband 17 years ago. And that is my tragic tale.”