Sent 10/20/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - October Missive #4
~ Workshops ~
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Lots of important news today ~ 

Workshops begin at 10AM October 29th,  at Oceana High School in Pacifica!

Please see more information below and please read the missives completely before asking questions. Please also check back on the missive page, as there might be minor changes to the schedule, which will be dated as of the date of the changes.

Please find the workshop and rehearsal schedule on the missive page here:

Also, please update your address books with these addresses:


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

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

"A Penny for Your Thoughts"

Every year I mention this and it still holds true. The goal of workshops is to create not just an event, but a world. Our visitors comment regularly in social media about being transported to another place and time, and no one else does that the way that we do. In order for a world to really thrive, its' inhabitants need to not only look their characters and act their characters, they need to *think* their characters. This allows us all to really become other people and it's a lot of fun, both for our audience and for us. 
So the theme for workshops this year is... "a penny for your thoughts"... get it?
(for those of you who are new, read the penultimate paragraph of the plot on this page

Workshops Begin October 29th - Morning Meeting 10:00AM!

Workshops and rehearsals begin at 10AM October 29th,  at Oceana High School in Pacifica and run until approximately 5:00PM. 

As always, there will be a mandatory meeting at 10:00AM in the cafeteria on the first day of workshops. This meeting is always a lot of fun and a little crazy; announcements are made, staff, directors and workshop leaders are introduced, and there is general amusement had by all. Some of the directors will still be looking for people; they will announce whether they are. Read the missives and look for groups that interest you. You must be part of a group to work at the Fair, whether it's caroling, dancing at Fezziwig's or being a Dickens character. Don't be shy; ask questions of the directors and see if it's what you want to do and might be good at.

The workshop/rehearsal schedule, for the first two weekends and the workshop map are available on the missive page, the descriptions will be posted there soon. The schedule for the third workshop/dress rehearsal weekend at the Cow Palace will be posted a bit later
Workshops will continue October 30th, and November 5th & 6th at Oceana. The third weekend of workshops and rehearsals (November 12th and 13th) will be held at the Cow Palace, with a limited number of workshops taught on Saturday. No workshops will be taught on Sunday; that will be dress rehearsal day, which will also include a 10:00AM morning meeting.  

Please plan on attending these meetings; they're our only chance to have all of our performers in one place, all at the same time. 

Note: Stakeout for the vendors isn't until the November 5th (at the Cow Palace), so it will not be available the first weekend of workshops.  Please do not go to the Cow Palace until dress rehearsal weekend unless you are building a booth or environmental area, as we have limited build time and there will be much construction equipment, power tools, etc. The Green Room areas will be available on dress rehearsal weekend. 

Performer Requirements

The Password: Registration@DCF2016

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.  

At Workshops: 
What you'll need to get your pass
Once you have taken your workshops 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. Here's the checklist of what you'll need:

#1 A completed, printed Eventbrite receipt/registration form with:
#2 Your director or booth owner's signature
#3 Costume Approval from the official costume department
#4 Sign off's from the appropriate number of workshop teachers
#5 (Optional) The Cow Palace offers parking passes to Fair participants at a discounted rate of $30, these will be available at workshops.

Age specifications:
          0 -  4   No registration form needed
          5 -17   Registration form, with all appropriate signatures and approvals, plus guardian information.
        18 - up Registration form, with all appropriate signatures and approvals.

Special Notes: Your name must be on a cast list at the office and your director must have signed your registration form before your pass will be issued. Directors will only sign registration forms after all appropriate workshop classes and costume approval have been completed.

Workshop Particulars

 New Folks
 New folks are required to take the following classes: 
  1. Orientation I: A Beginner's Guide to Life And Times in Our London
  2. Orientation II: All You Need to Know about Dickens Fair - A Survival Guide
  3. Either Victorian or Cockney language(Irish or Scots may be substituted for those whose characters specifically require these)
  4. Physical Characterization
  5. The "How to Pass Costume Approval" class
We would also like you to take a Character Lab or Improv workshop if possible. Please note that Physical Characterization is a prerequisite for the Character Lab and Improv classes. Please do not try to take the labs if you have not yet taken the Physical Characterization workshop.

More information on performing at the fair can also be found here:

Dickens Fair Veterans
Dickens Fair Veterans please take:
  1. A language workshop
  2. An in-depth character or acting/improv workshop, AND
  3. A social history workshop of your choice.
Further workshops are highly recommended! We aim to provide new workshops every year for your education, preparation and delight.

Class Size Limitations:  Some classes can only accept a limited number of people at one time in order to functionally teach their class. Please arrive at that class early if that is the only time you can take it. If any of the teachers turn you away because their class is full, please do not argue, but come back at another time.  
Take Lots of Workshops!
We encourage you to take as many workshops as possible, they are meant to be both fun and educational and will help you make your way more credibly and enjoyably through the streets of our London.

I know it may seem like old hat to some of you, but to have a real ensemble cast, we all need to work together and remember that we really are creating our version of Victorian England and should be representing our characters *ALL THE TIME* when in front of the audience. Workshops are the best way to make that happen and we are offering some new ones to keep it interesting. Veterans can be a real help to the new folks in the classes. 

Rules for Minors (Under 18) and Their Guardians 

  • Minors will not be granted a gate pass unless their registration and volunteer agreement are properly completed. 
  • Minors must  have an onsite guardian at all times. 
Taking on the role of guardian for a minor at the Dickens Fair is more than just signing a piece of paper. It means that you are responsible for that minor in their parent's stead. 

This year we are continuing to require a MANDATORY workshop for both the minor and their onsite guardian to specifically address the rules and offer helpful information. This workshop will take place on the Saturday of Dress Rehearsal weekend.

$10 Replacement Fee for Lost or Stolen Passes

Please be careful with your passes!

Although we are no longer charging a registration fee, we will still be charging for replacement passes.

They are not only a ticket to the fair, they allow entrance to our backstage areas, which could be a safety concern for participants and their valuables. 

Participant Tickets

Participant tickets are still only $15 for adults and $10 for children.  Participant tickets are good ANY weekend - an even better value with the higher price of the final two weekends!  

You may use credit cards at workshops and at the pass house.  Participant tickets are not available on line and may only be purchased in person, and with a current 2016 gate pass.

This Year's Dickens Fair Participants Hotel Deals

(from Kevin Patterson)

(These are just for participants, please don't share with others)

Ramada Inn and Days Inn (same ownership & next door to each other) - nice rooms and excellent accessibility to the venue.

Call the front desk and mention "Charles Dickens" and they will offer a rate of $85 + tax.  (best was 79 + tax last year).

They are:

Days Inn
1113 Airport Blvd.
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 873-9300

Ramada Limited
721 Airport Blvd.
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 583-7300

They really go out of their way to be great.   There is an elevator.  A full list of amenities is available on their websites.

Breakfast & Lunch at Workshops 

Patrick Morris will once again have food for sale at all three workshop weekends. Expect many tasty treats for both breakfast and lunch.

No Smoking at Oceana High School 

Please, there is no smoking allowed anywhere on Oceana High School grounds.

Finding Our Way & Remembering Our Manners

Oceana is a lovely school and there will be quite a lot of you showing up on Saturday morning, so please arrive early and allow some extra time for parking and reconnoitering.

Important: There will  be two parking lots and two entrances to the school, one from each parking lot (please see map on missive site). Please follow directions from the parking attendants/security staff.     Please do not park in the first small parking lot you see on Paloma, near the tennis courts. That is reserved for patrons of the Oceana Pool, and it will upset a lot of people if any of us park there. Continue up the street to the entrance to the school parking lot, to which you will be directed by staff or signs.

Special Note: Please carpool if possible. If you arrive late and there is no parking left in the lot, please be careful not to block people's driveways. That happened last year and we'd prefer not to upset the neighbors.

The Morning Meeting will be in the Cafeteria, there will be signs directing you.
Please park only where you are instructed to by security personnel.
Please do not move furniture in the classrooms if you can possibly help it, or unless authorized by one of the workshop teachers.
In order to disrupt the school functions as little as possible, everything must be left exactly as we found it. 
Please pick up after yourself and the people around you. 

Please, Be Respectful of the Classrooms

I also want to post a reminder about the lovely school that we are graciously allowed to use each year. This is the third school we have used in the Pacifica School District, many thanks to Stephen Johnson for arranging it, it's a lovely venue. Each year RBP pays rent and insurance and tries to make sure that we take good care of our home away from home.  But we should remember that we are guests and should be careful not to disturb someone else's home.

A few years ago, we had complaints from parents and teachers about students artwork being damaged, teacher's desks being rearranged, trash and other issues that almost cost us the use of the school. Since then, someone takes pictures of the classrooms each morning to make sure anything that might have been moved can be put back properly that evening.

Please be respectful.

Please, Do Not Bring Animals to Workshops! 

We are not allowed to have them at the school. Please do not endanger our relationship with the school by bringing them. 

A Note on Video & Photos at Workshops 

Please,  before you shoot that video, or take photographs with the intention of posting either online, ask the subject whether it is all right with them.  Most especially, video should not be taken in workshop classes or rehearsals without the approval of the teacher or director.

Old Bay Bridge Go Boom!

"Motorists in the San Francisco Bay Area Oct 29 be advised of Bay Bridge rolling traffic breaks from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Demolition of the original East Span is well under way, with the cantilever truss and five 504' sections now removed and two underwater marine foundations imploded. Next crews will move east to dismantle the the 288' truss spans. Learn more about this process on the demolition page."

So don't be late to workshops!

Directions to Oceana High School   
401 Paloma Ave, Pacific, CA 94044

You can find a Google map here.

From the East Bay
After the crossing the Bay Bridge, follow signs to 101 south
After passing Cesar Chavez exit merge to the right lane
At the Hwy 101/Hwy280 split, take Hwy 280 on the right
Take the Hwy 1 South exit
As you come down the hill into Pacifica, take Paloma offramp (2nd exit)
Turn left at the stop sign, onto Paloma
As you come to the next stop, you will see a sign directing you to parking.
From the North Bay and San Francisco
(After crossing the GG Bridge)
Take 19th Avenue south, which will merge into Hwy 280 south
Take the Hwy 1 South exit
As you come down the hill into Pacifica, take Paloma offramp (2nd exit)
Turn left at the stop sign, onto Paloma
As you come to the next stop, you will see a sign directing you to parking.
From the South Bay and Peninsula
Take Hwy 101 North
After passing the airport, take the 380 connection to 280 North
Take the Hwy 1 South/Pacifica exit
As you go up the hill stay in the left lanes
After coming down the hill into Pacifica take the second exit (Paloma)
Turn left at the stop sign (onto Paloma)
At the next stop sign look for the Workshop Parking sign.
From the South Using Hwy 1:
Take Hwy 1 north
Take the Oceana Blvd exit
Continue on Oceana
When you come to Oceana and Paloma Avenues you will see a sign for parking.

Public Transportation to Workshops 

(Many thanks to Stephen Johnson)

For the workshops in Pacifica Take BART to Daly City
Get on the Sam Trans Bus 110 Southbound (to Linda Mar Park & Ride)
Saturday schedule: get on at 8:57 am

Sunday schedule: get on at 8:27
Get off at the corner of Oceana & Paloma
Return: Sat. 4:20 pm or 5:20 pm Sun. 4:50 pm
for schedules go to

Alternate route
Take BART to Colma
Get on the Sam Trans Bus 112 Southbound (to Linda Mar Park & Ride)
Saturday Schedule: get on at 9:28 am
Sunday schedule: get on 8:57 am
Get off at Paloma
Return: Sat 4:48 pm or 5:48pm Sun 4:19 pm or 5:19 pm
for schedules go to


Facebook Ride Sharing Group 

There is a Dickens Fair ride sharing group at 

If you need a ride to the fair or workshops, you can post there. Even better, if you can offer a ride, please post there! Thanks!   

Attention Telegraph Employees!

(from Karen Porter)

I have lost my contacts for you so I need you to contact me.  Please let me know if you plan to work for me this year.  Barbara needs to work out a schedule. We will be at first weekend workshops so catch  us there if not by email.

We are still looking for desk lighting for the writers and other areas. I think I have  a chandelier for the entrance.  Could use a floor lamp for the boys area.

Also if anyone has an extra sewing machine they could part with I would like to know.  Portable please.

Karen Porter

Daylight Savings Time Ends November 6th!

That's second weekend of workshops, just an FYI.
Quick Links...
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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
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