In 1843 Charles Dickens sat down to his desk, pen in hand and began to write: ‘Marley was dead: to begin with…..’ and so began one of the greatest, most enduring, most retold works of literature the world has ever seen.
In 1993 Gerald Dickens, great great grandson of the aforementioned author, is asked to perform a dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol in aid of charity to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the book’s first publication. He says that he will do it, but it will be strictly a one off performance.
In 2013 The aforementioned great great grandson to the aforementioned author is sitting in a B&B in Massachusetts about to embark on the 20th anniversary tour of A Christmas Carol. This has to be the longest one off performance in history!
I am often asked what Charles Dickens would make of today’s proliferation of social media and the ability to communicate across the globe instantly: of course he would embrace it wholeheartedly. He would use it effectively to spread his words and his messages to as many people as he could touch, in the same way that he used the method of serialised novels to do the same thing throughout his writing career.
This year I realised that I have been remiss in not embracing the internet revolution and in a way am letting Charles Dickens down by not doing so. Therefore I have taken the plunge and decided to create a blog throughout this year’s tour. I have no idea what it will say: that depends on each venue, each audience, each airport and hotel. What I do know is that it will include some amazing people, some stunning venues, some soaring highs and periods of frustration and fatigue, just as each of my past tours has done.
The 2013 trip starts in Massachusetts, before taking me to Tennessee, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and New Hampshire. I will be performing in some spectacular settings, such as The Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA, where Dickens himself appeared; in theatres and arts centres; in hotels and school auditoria; I will even be performing in rooms wholly unsuited to the job of being a theatre yet which are somehow transformed.
I will be revisiting old friends from tours past and forging new relationships with sponsors staging events for the first time this year.
All in all it promises to be a very exciting few weeks. I hope that you enjoy following along and if you find yourself at one of the events please come and say hello.
Tomorrow I start by performing at The Westfield Vocational High School in Westfield, MA
Marley may have been dead: to begin with but the story certainly lives on!