Sent 10/9/17
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2017 - October Missive #1
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Because there is so much information to relay, we're organizing it into separate more bite-sized missives. 
Here's what to expect:

Today's missive: general information and online registration
Later this week: the main workshop missive
Next week: the kid's missive (participant information organized specifically for parents of kidlings)
Sometime soon thereafter: the workshop and rehearsal schedule

Stay safe out there,


Please remember to contact the folks referenced in each notice below, 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:

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

Our thoughts are with those evacuated from the dreadful fires in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties. I created a Facebook group to help those offering housing and other assistance, get it to those who need it.  

If you can offer assistance, or if you are in need, please join at  
It's currently a public group, we just need to approve your request to join.

Dickens Fair is on the Horizon!

(from Therese Porter)

It's that time...
The wheel of the year has turned and the need to start preparing for Fair is so close you can smell it (or perhaps that's just pumpkin spice). Over the course of the next several weeks there will be one or two missives a week flying into your mailbox, packed with information that help you assemble your resources, work up your enthusiasm and screw your courage to the sticking place! (oops, that last was Shakespeare. Sorry, wrong Fair.)

What do you want to do?
Many casts are already gearing up, but even if your cast doesn't start work until workshops - or you have not yet joined a cast - consider what you want to do with your character this year and what you  want to accomplish at this year's Fair. Each of us is a part of the collective magic that brings our guests back again and again while attracting an ever-growing audience eager to be enthralled. Future Missives will help you prepare for workshops and inform you of important changes and updates to the Fair itself. Read early, read often!

Do a bit o' research...
A crucial part of our immersive environment is how thoroughly we embody our characters. We are not 21st century actors in costumes, we are 19th century people in our clothes, each of us a unique part of the show we present to our guests. To help us achieve that solid foundation research is our friend, and there is no better time than the present to start rummaging in the wealth of materials available. Start reading books about the period (and by Our Author), watching adaptations and documentaries, digging through your notes, and of course, perusing the internet. The Dickens Fair website is a treasure trove of research rabbit holes into which one can dive.

Triage your costumes and props
Now, in the (relative) calm before workshops, is a dandy time to take a look at your costumes and props to see if they fit and they still do what they're supposed to do. It's always a good idea to become reacquainted with your costume before Dress Rehearsal - you'll be glad you did! Take a look at the bibs and bobs that make up your ensemble. Do you need a new battery for your pocket watch? Fresh garters? Corset laces? New scummy gloves? Now's the time to take care of those small but crucial issues. The Great Costume Missive will be coming out very soon with plenty of information and resources to help you fill in the cracks, start from scratch and everything in between!

Take a lesson from Our Author
As we begin our ramp up to London, let us fortify ourselves with a quote from Our Author, " Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness; the old year was preparing, like an ancient philosopher, to call his friends around him, and amidst the sound of feasting and revelry to pass gently and calmly away."


Online Participant Registration

We will once again be using the EventBrite system for participant registration, as we do for the tickets to the Dickens Fair. This will be for all participants in all categories.  

Everyone enters their registration information, and by clicking the appropriate boxes, have extra fields to fill in based on what they're doing at the fair. Once you've registered you will be emailed a receipt from Eventbrite that you will need to print out and bring to workshops.  Your registration receipt will have places for workshop sign-offs, director/booth owner acknowledgement and costume approval.  (Note that a limited number of forms will be available to be filled out at workshops, but doing so online greatly expedites the process.)

Please also note that there is a place to acknowledge that you have read and understood the 
Participant Handbook. I've just posted it on the missive site at

Once you have completed the pre-fair process you will take the completed Eventbrite receipt/registration form to the Pass House to be validated (scanned) and checked against the cast lists  so you can receive your gate pass. 

This allows us to have everyone's information in a computerized system in case of emergency etc, without having to enter every registration form manually. Last year this greatly sped up the lines and we will be doing this from now on.

All participants will still need to be on one of the director or booth owner lists, which will be cross-checked when each person brings their completed registration form to the registration desk or pass house. 

This registration process will of course not be available to the general public so you will need a password to access. 

The URL:
The Password: Registration@DCF2017

Please get registered soon and we will see you October 28th at workshops!

(from Liz Martin)

Please direct ANY and ALL costume questions to my email address:
Please make sure you include DCF 2017 in your subject line. It's the only way that I can track questions!
Any queries coming from FB have a good chance of not receiving a reply.

Thank you!!!

(from Therese Porter and Rydell Downward))

The Other Books cast at the Dickens Fair portrays the wide variety of characters from works of Dickens. We put the "Dickens" in Dickens Fair! We are looking for experienced improvisational, interactive performers to help fill out our cast and populate the streets of the event with the vivid and memorable characters from the fevered imagination of Charles Dickens. This is a full time commitment that requires energy, enthusiasm, strong improvskills and tremendous esprit de corps.

This year we are especially looking for:

Nicholas Nickleby: The eponymous protagonist of "The Life and Adventures of" - young(ish), passionate, filled with zeal to make a mark on the world and bristling with Romantic notions. Has many adventures with a panoply of fascinating characters

David Copperfield: The portrait of Our Author as a young man. Young(ish), idealistic, artistic and fascinated by the never-ending cavalcade of wonders, despair and delight in London.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Villains? We got 'em. Colourful eccentrics?Ditto.Solid salt of the earth types?Yup.Exaggerated versionsof every Victorian type imaginable? Oh yeah. You have theatrical muscles you want to stretch? We've got every conceivable kind of role to help you do that.

If you are interested in joining us, we are working principally with the characters of these books:
  • Nicholas Nickleby
  • Martin Chuzzlewit (English part of the story only)
  • David Copperfield
  • Bleak House
  • Our Mutual Friend
Here's a great page to learn more about the characters and the books:   

If you have questions, contact Therese at

(from Diana Young)
Don't be shy!  If you have the last two hours of the Dickens day free, you could be part of the fun family of folk who make this popular and long-running comic romp happen.  All ages, genders, body types, etc. have a place in our creative vision!  Tableaux include both fully dressed roles and those somewhat less so, as we present imagery of history, myth, art and imagination, from the "stone age" to the era of Queen Victoria.  

If you're not inclined toward being seen on stage, we also have openings for stage crew, prop wranglers, and audience patrol.  Auditions will be held on Saturday, October 28, at Oceana High School, immediately after the last workshop.  All rehearsals will be held during workshop/rehearsal times at Oceana and the Cow Palace, with the exception of one dress rehearsal at the Cow Palace on the evening of November 14.  

Any questions?  Contact: Diana Young (        


Reminder: This Year's Dates

These are also on the Vendors & Performers page and the missive page:

2017 Workshop and Show Dates
Oct. 28-29: Workshops in Pacifica
Nov. 4-5: Workshops in Pacifica
Nov. 11: Workshops at the Cow Palace
Nov. 12: Dress Rehearsal at the Cow Palace
Weekend 1: Nov. 18-19
Weekend 2: Nov. 24-25-26
Weekend 3: Dec. 2-3
Weekend 4: Dec. 9-10
Weekend 5: Dec. 16-17
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
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