Benedict of Wychbrook, a grey Anglo Irish donkey, will take a break from his home to tread the boards alongside international stars, a celebrated chorus and full orchestra when they come to Bradford on Wednesday 27 April.
Award-winning Producer/Director Ellen Kent spent her teenage years in Spain and has a rich store of experiences to draw on as she weaves passion and drama into the show at the Alhambra Theatre.
“Incorporating a donkey into the production lends it a real taste of Spain. My mother used to run the equivalent of the RSPCA in Spain when I was growing up and the farm was full of 30 to 40 donkeys, the same number of dogs and even more cats".
“We used to travel miles across the countryside to festivals when they were planning to use a donkey. We’d buy the donkey off them and run – often chased by villagers. There was never a dull moment".
“The animals were always my mother’s top priority. It’s a tribute to her really, that I use donkeys in the show – she would have been delighted and the audience always love it, especially as we try to use rescue donkeys from the local area.”
Benedict of Wychbrook, is no stranger to the limelight and has taken part in Grassington Dickensian Christmases carrying Mary, he has also been a part of various local parades and has even met Princess Anne at a celebratory event. He has competed in riding and driving events and shows; and also raises money at school fetes and charity events. He has quite a proud character and does not like being ignored. His favourite foods are oaty or ginger biscuits.
A collection to raise money for donkey welfare will be made on the night.
Another surprise in Carmen will be Caspian - a majestic white Andalucian stallion who will do a spectacular dance sequence, ridden by Joe Butcher from AB Films. Caspian has appeared in many films including War Horse and Robin Hood.
Ellen Kent and Opera & Ballet International will also be presenting Puccini’s Tosca at the Alhambra Theatre on Tuesday 26 April.