Experience an unforgettable take on a holiday favorite, told through the colorful and wildly creative lens of innovative puppet company Manual Cinema. The Moss Arts Center is co-commissioning Manual Cinema's “Christmas Carol,” presenting two livestreamed performances of Charles Dickens' classic, on Friday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 13, at 4 p.m.

A world-premiere online event created for audiences of all ages specifically for the 2020 holiday season, each show will be livestreamed from Manual Cinema’s Chicago studio. In the company’s signature fashion, hundreds of paper puppets, miniatures, and silhouettes come together with a live original score to imaginatively reinvent this cherished holiday classic.

An avowed holiday skeptic, Aunt Trudy has been recruited to channel her late husband Joe's famous Christmas cheer. From the isolation of her studio apartment, she reconstructs his annual “Christmas Carol” puppet show — over a Zoom call while the family celebrates Christmas Eve confined apart. But as Trudy becomes more absorbed in her own version of the story, the puppets take on a life of their own, and the family's call transforms into a stunning cinematic adaptation of Dickens' classic ghost story.

An Emmy Award-winning performance collective, design studio, and film and video production company, Manual Cinema brings liveliness, ingenuity, and theatricality as it combines handmade shadow puppetry, film, and innovative sound and music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen. The collective appeared at the Moss Arts Center in 2018.

Manual Cinema’s “Christmas Carol” is co-commissioned by the Moss Arts Center, along with a number of partners across the country. Commissioning means supporting the creation of new work—advancing resources to develop a work of art. The Moss Arts Center actively commissions one or more new performance and visual art works each season.

Ticket information

Tickets are $15 for general public and free for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Free behind the scenes event

Go behind the scenes of Manual Cinema's “Christmas Carol” during this all-ages exclusive peek with company members, who reveal how they build and bring to life their new masterpiece. Bring your questions and join the Moss Arts Center on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 12 p.m. for this free event.