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Dickens Christmas Fair 2005 October Missive #4 - Workshops!
(sent October 28, 2005)

Schedule for Workshop Weekends # 1&2

Workshop Descriptions

The big workshop missive is here a whole week before the workshops!

True, there will be more information next week, but this should get you started. The workshop and rehearsal schedule for the first two weekends and workshop descriptions are attached as .pdf ("portable document format") files, which can be opened with the free and downloadable Adobe Acrobat Reader. We have a new Folklore workshop, a fabulous new Cockney teacher and two Character Labs this year! We were very inspired by the recent Cal Shakes production of "Nicholas Nickleby" and the actor's ability to tell you exactly who they were the moment they walked on the stage... even when they were switching back and forth between parts. That's what we want to do!

The third weekend of workshops will be held at the Cow Palace, with classes on Saturday only; Sunday will be a dress rehearsal. The schedule for that weekend will be forthcoming.

Note: The rooms at the school will be numbered as on the schedule, allowing us to pick the most appropriate classrooms for classes with specific needs. Please help the teachers adjust the furniture and put it back in it's appropriate place. We are very fortunate to have such a lovely facility to use.

Dickens Christmas Fair Workshop Weekends #1&2
November 5th and 6th, 12th,13th
Saturday & Sunday 10:00-5:30
Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School
1427 Palmetta Ave.
Pacifica, CA 94044
Click here for map

Workshop Weekend#3/Dress Rehearsal
at the Cow Palace, San Francisco
Geneva Avenue and Santos Street, San Francisco, CA
Sat. November 19th 10:00-5:00 - Workshops & Rehearsals, schedule TBA
Sun. November 20th 10:00-7:00 - Dress Rehearsal, schedule TBA, no workshops

In This Missive
Area 51
Participant Ticket Special!
The Morning Meeting
Food at Workshops: Patrick & the Can-Can!
Special Note on the Dark Garden Workshop
The Requirements
I'm New - What Do I Do?
Theme Character Auditions
Stage Managers Needed
Toys for Tots at the Dickens Fair
Scrooge Needs a Holiday Home

Area 51
Tom Westlake will once again be manning Area 51, our affectionate name for our registration office located in the multi-purpose room. This is where you will pick up your paperwork, pay your fees, buy Cow Palace parking passes ($35.00 for the run) and participant tickets (see below). Cash or check only at workshops, we won't have a credit card machine. Don't forget the jelly beans....

Participant Ticket Special!
Raise money for your group or favorite charity (including starving artistes)!

We are lowering the price of participant tickets from $15 to $10.  You can sell them for any price up to $20 and keep the difference.  We suggest $15 which is the group sales price and still $2 less than the online price throughout the Fair.

Here's how:  Email   Request X number of tickets.  He will then email back a consignment form, you fill it our  - including a valid credit card number - fax it back, and we will send you the tickets.   This can also be done in person at workshops!  The credit card will not be touched until after the Fair.  You can return any unsold tickets at any time and pay cash for the tickets sold or ask us to charge them to your card.

That's it!  As an extra thank you, (and incentive), you will receive 1 complimentary ticket for every 10 tickets sold.  You will receive the comps after you pay for the tickets sold.  Yes, you can do this more than once during the run.  We will be giving you actual comps so don't use the consignment tickets as you will be charged for every consignment ticket not returned.

Help us fill the show to capacity while raising money for a good cause of your choice. Thanks!

The Morning Meeting
The beginning of workshops, first day morning meeting is always a lot of fun and a little crazy. It will be in the multi-purpose room at 10:00AM Saturday November 5th and will take the place of the first workshop period. There will also be a big meeting at 10:00AM on dress rehearsal day at the Cow Palace. Your attendance is seriously requested at both of these meetings.

Food at Workshops: Patrick & the Can-Can!

Weekend #1
The lovely Patrick Morris will be back!
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, OJ and muffins for breakfast
Vegetarian chili with cornbread, salads, pizza, candy, gum, soda and water will be available throughout the day.
There's a chance we'll be having latés and capuchinos as well.
There will be no price increases from last year so everything should be $5 or under.

Weekend #2
Can-Can Bijou!
Welcome one and all to the Bijou Café served by our lovely French ladies a selection of sandwiches, homemade goodies as well as hot and cold beverages!
As a fundraiser to pay for our new Can Can boots we will be serving Breakfast and Lunch second weekend of workshops.
There will be lots of tasty homemade treats for sale as well all day long so come by our table and buy, buy, buy, so we can Kick, Kick, Kick!!
(more specifics later)

Special Note on the Dark Garden Workshop
This workshop is only offered once, during the second workshop period, right after the morning meeting. You must take the class if you wish to pose in the Dark Garden window. If you are new  to Dickens London, Dark Garden is our beloved corsetry shop, where lovely ladies (and sometimes gentlemen) model corsets in an educational, entertaining and very tasteful way.

The Requirements
#1 A completed registration form which includes:

Your director's or booth owner's signature

Costume Approval from Kathy Kingman, Alexandria Volk or their designated representative

Sign off's from three workshop teachers:
New folks are required to take Orientation plus either Victorian or Cockney language and Physical Characterization (also one of the Character Labs if possible)

Dickens Fair Veterans please take either Victorian or Cockney language, either Physical Characterization or Character Lab, (preferably both, as they work as a set this year) and another workshop of your choice.

Note: 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.

You may additionally take as many workshops as you wish.

#2 The $10.00 registration fee.

Yes, we accept checks, but cannot accept credit cards at Area 51 as we won't have a credit card terminal there.

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.

I'm New - What Do I Do?
Come to the morning meeting this Saturday, where all of the workshop teachers and directors will be introduced. 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.

Some of the booths will also be looking for workers, if you need to make a little money to offset your costume obsession, that might be a good thing to look into. Many of them will let you work part-time. The vendors will be at Stake-Out on Saturday November 12th at 10:00AM at the Cow Palace, and may post notices at the workshops or in a future missive.

You might also look at the postings below for ideas.

Theme Character Auditions
At the Dickens Fair, the theme characters are mostly the characters from Dickens books. We have cast a number of the parts but there are still some juicy ones up for grabs. I will be posting a list next week, including information on how to sign up for an audition time. The auditions will be 2:30PM Saturday, November 5th at the room posted in the schedule. There may also be follow-up auditions.

Stage Managers Needed
(from Mark... could you tell?)
Ever watched a show, and said to yourself, “I wonder how they can control this magnificent chaos?”  Well, now is your chance.  We are looking for a few good people to fill the position of Stage Manager.  Power, wealth, and prestige will be yours.  Well, maybe not the power.  Well, not the wealth, either.  But definitely the prestige….   Ah, no, never mind.  But definite excitement, fun, and…well, maybe not. 

Anyway, experience is not required, but some theatrical experience is very helpful.  You handle the flow and timing of the individual shows, keeping your actors appraised of where the show is.  You make sure everyone is comfortable, quiet, neat and tidy.  It’s like a mother (or father) hen, watching over his chicks.  You are the communications, the lifeblood of the faire.  You must be hard as steel, with nerves of concrete, you must be as gentle as a lamb, but fierce as a lion.  It’s a dirty, rough, stressful, rapid fire, monotonous, crazy job, and it’s up to you to do it.  Are you ready?  Then email mark at, and say, “I’ll do it, not matter what the cost to my personal sanity is!!!”.  Or you can just come up to me at workshops.  More details to follow…

(from Julie)
So you call yourself an actor!
Yes, the Crummles - those monuments to mediocrity, those monarchs of mayhem are at it again.  We are looking for:
-A leading man type - for our V&A shows
-A comic dancer who can lift the infant who is only 10 but requires muscle to lift - for our V&A shows
-AND people to play with me on the streets and perform one show a day on the silk road stage
Contact Julie St. Germaine either by e-mail at or by phone (before 9:00 p.m., please) at 510-222-7288

We also need transportation for our exciting props - platform, trunk, etc.  Let us bribe you!  (Note we are also sharing the platform with naughty french postcards and other V&A, so improving visibility is a plus for all of us!)  Call or e-mail! Julie

The Holidays Are a Time for Hope, Caring and Charity: Toys for Tots at the Dickens Fair
(from Kevin)
The year of 2005 has seen formidable hardships for our country. The recent tragedies on the Gulf Coast and in Florida have served to remind us how much we, as Americans, count on each other when things are tough for our neighbors. We have therefore welcomed 1st Sergeant James Smith and the 23rd Marines to bring Toys for Tots to The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. With our venue and their established charity we hope to bring hundreds of toys to disaster victims as well as those in need in our own much smaller community.

You will be seeing the Toys for Tots logo on advertising for the Dickens fair and hearing mentions of Toys for Tots on the radio. A Toys for Tots Marine will be stationed every day of the Fair beginning Friday November 25th and continuing Saturdays and Sundays to December 18th.  Members of the public who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate will receive a $3 off coupon for adult admission.  As participants, let's all try to bring at least one toy sometime during the run.  More information will be posted at . Please help to spread the word, and make the first year of our collaboration with Toys for Tots a resounding success!

Scrooge Needs a Holiday Home
Martin Harris will be crossing the big water again this year, to be our own, our very, very own Scrooge.  Martin is looking for places to stay in or around the city during his stay for Dickens, starting around dress rehearsal weekend and ending with our closing weekend. He also wants me to pass along his words of thanks, for all your kind words when he was injured in April and his father passed in June. You can contact Martin at

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Link to Cat Taylor's Homepage