Sent 6/28/16
Back to Missives Page

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - June Missive #1
Notes from your Missive Maven:
It's June and auditions for the Great Dickens Christmas Fair are starting! I know that sounds incongruous, but there are some great things coming up this year, read on!

Please remember to contact the folks referenced in each notice above, rather than hitting "reply".

Need to change your email address for or unsubscribe from the missives? Want to read past missives? 
Please visit this page:

Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director, Missive & Social Media Maven
In This Missive

New This Year on the V&A Stage, the Enchanting, Enticing Electrifying Enter'Actes!  ~ Auditions July 12th

(from Ellen Hoffman)

What does this mean?  Music Hall songs & acts interspersed between the other shows, helmed by your very own Ellen Hoffman!

We're looking for a broad variety of Music Hall acts in the V&A, from family-friendly to a little bit saucy.  After all, we are in the West End - why, even Her Majesty might show up in the Audience! Your act or your song(s) must be under 5 minutes. (HINT: Shorter acts are easier to schedule.) All acts will be introduced by a witty, dashing & charming chairman.

Auditions will be held Tues. July 12, 7:15 to 9:45 pm, BFUU Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94709.

To sign up for auditions and to get other info, send email with your name, the title of your song (or write "TBD") or a brief description of your act. Send email to: 

Everyone auditioning with a song MUST bring 2 (two) copies of your sheet music in the correct key. Is this a problem? Send email with your concerns & we'll discuss.  

HINT: It's not required to bring props or costumes to your audition - but it doesn't hurt, especially if it helps you get in the Zone! 
Of course, you will be very prepared and have your song(s) memorized, or nearly so.  

Again, for more information, please contact Ellen Hoffman at

Attention: The New Sal's Music Hall Show (working title) 
Auditions Have Nearly Arrived!!!

(from Sandey Grinn)

We will be holding open auditions in the San Francisco area at the beginning of August. Location, times and instructions on how to sign up to reserve your spot will follow in a future post. In the meantime, here's some information to get you started ...

This is a totally new, scripted show, written and directed by Sandey Grinn (Cock and Feathers). The show will have much singing and dancing (with 10+ songs including two originals) so please come with a song and brief comedic monologue (in period appreciated but not required) and be prepared to move. We'll be casting a total of five men and five women for the show.


LANCE HARDLY (Male Lead) - Egotistical, charming, woman's man, a slightly smarmy version of Gene Kelly
MISS LILLY OLIVE VALLEY (Diva) - The headliner, star, God's gift to our stage. The audience is impressed by her talents while the cast tries to avoid her - except, of course, for Lance Hardly, who is seeing her clandestinely 
VICTOR VALLEY (Diva's Husband) - Naïve, good hearted, knows nothing of wife's affair (because he is the very last to know)
ROSEOLA TIPPLER (Lush) - Was once the star, or at least that's what she tells anyone who will listen. Bitter and a bit drunk throughout, she's somehow able to pull it together for the group numbers.
NELLIE BLUSHINGTON (Ingénue) - Sweet, pure, optimistic, worships Lance Hardly from afar (and sadly doesn't realize as we do that she's too good for him)
SAM GOODWIN (Shy Male Cast Member) - Loves Nellie Blushington but doesn't know how to tell her (thankfully, when pressed, he can sing it to her pretty well)
THE REST (2 male, 2 female) - Happy, supportive, perky, trying to dodge the drama however they can, singing and dancing (and understudying the leads)

For more information, you can message Sandey Grinn on Facebook, or write him at

This Year's Pantomime: "The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen and Mopsa the Fairy"

(from Bryn Tucker) 

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair's Christmas Pantomime by the Stark Ravens is opening auditions for this year's new production of "The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen and Mopsa the Fairy". 
Directing this year's production is Robert Young.  We are specifically casting for male parts, and inquiries for crew are always welcome. 

To be considered for this year's production, please send your information and performing resume to: 

Rehearsals and production work begin this July.  For more information on the specific parts and participation requirements, please address your questions to the above address. 

Brush Up Your Dickens! And A Note About The Other Books Cast

(from Therese Porter) 

For many of us Summertime is when we start thinking about what we want to do this year for Dickens Fair. It's a great time to start reading/rereading your Dickens and doing other research. Bring Dickens to the beach! Take Mayhew to the park! Invite Eliot to tea!

It's also a perfect time to watch adaptations of the works of Dickens and his contemporaries, and otherwise start the immersion process. Invite a friend or two over, make a bowl of popcorn and settle in with the dramatic and comedic goodness of "Martin Chuzzlewit," "David Copperfield," &c - a cracking good time for all ages and occasions!

And speaking of things like immersion and rip-snorting characters, if you are considering joining the cast of Other Books (we who put the Dickens in Dickens Fair) now is a good time to think about the kind of character you want to portray and think about how that character will add to the overall magic we create, so that when the audition notices go forth in a few months you will be prepared to give the best audition you can.

Although each year the Other Books looks for certain specific characters from the books, what we want most are vivid, engaging evocations of Our Author's characters, delivered with strong theatricality and consummate interactive skill.

If you are in a cast already and are thinking of moving from it to Other Books, please discuss this with your Director(s). If you have questions about being Other Books that are not answered by consulting the website, you can email Therese Porter ( who co-directs the cast with Rydell Downward. 

Therese is also the Director of A Christmas Carol, and information about roles and auditions will go out the same time as that of Other Books.
Free! PEERS: An Edwardian Picnic Among the Roses - August 6th
(from Cathleen Myers)

Pack a picnic basket, put on your most picturesque hat and afternoon attire, and join us for an Edwardian Picnic among the roses in the style of E.M Forster's "A Room with a View" and all those gorgeous Merchant-Ivory costume movies. Admission is free - our way of thanking our guests for their loyal support of PEERS. 

The picnic is set in 1908 and costumes from 1900-1912 are admired but not required. As our picnic site is Alameda's beautiful Lincoln Park (near the Rose Garden) rather than the Tuscan countryside, the weather can be very changeable, so both shawls and hats/parasols are strongly recommended. Ladies wishing to wear the rational costume or bicycling costume of the suffragettes and New Women are certainly welcome to do so. But if you plan to dance, be sure to wear shoes or boots sturdy enough for outdoor dancing. 

The event is not a general potluck since we wish to give PEERS' hard-working catering staff a holiday. Please bring your OWN picnic lunch. Our guests are encouraged to have fun making their picnic site look as Edwardian as possible. As there are no picnic tables in the Rose Garden side of the park, guests may want to bring blankets to sit on or period-looking picnic furniture and accoutrements. 

Our celebrated vintage dance band,  Bangers & Mash, will play late Victorian and Edwardian dance music and some sizzling Ragtime dances from 1pm to 4:30. Tips for our brilliant and hard-working band will be much appreciated. 

For costume inspiration, you might enjoy watching the Merchant-Ivory 1985 production of "A Room with a View". Indeed, ANY of Merchant-Ivory's Edwardian era films will give you excellent ideas for costumes, both simple and elaborate. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016
Location: Lincoln Park
1450 High Street, Alameda
(Near the Rose Garden)
Suggested Set-Up Time: 10:00 am (or earlier for the best picnic spots)
Picnic Luncheon begins: 11:00 am
Formal Dancing: 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Admission: Free! (Your donations to the band are welcome!)

Quick Links...
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Website
Dickens Fair Performer Page
Cat's Missive Page
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Facebook page
Dickens Fair Twitter
Join the Public Email List
Contact Information
For specific questions regarding performing at the Fair, please email Cat Taylor
If your group would like to perform at the Fair for just one day (school caroling groups, etc.) 
please email Robert Young
For specific questions regarding vending at the Fair please email Vendors
For specific questions the beverage department please email Beverage
For questions regarding costumes, please email Costumes
Join Our Mailing List
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Red Barn Productions,PO Box 1768, Novato, CA 94948
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Site created and administered by Cat Taylor