Sent  11/4/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - November Missive #1
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Yes, it's November, how did that happen?

Some minor changes to the workshop schedule and an added class. 
There is a new schedule available on the missive site, but there will not be new printed schedules the weekend. 

We are at Oceana High School one more weekend before moving to the Cow Palace.

Also a report card on the use of the school and some other things of interest, including this week's time change.


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

Improv I - A Beginner's Improvisation Class: Offered 2nd Weekend

(from Robert Young) 
Improv I - A Beginner's Improvisation Class: offered 2nd weekend.
taught by Elizabeth Schluntz (our Mrs. Fezziwig)

When Ana Elizando couldn't teach her Impov I class this year, it didn't occur to us that not one of our many acting classes taught beginning improv skills. Thanks to Kaellie Clein-Cunningham, our director of the SCUM, for checking them all out and letting us know!

We will be offering a beginning Improv class on both Saturday and Sunday of weekend 2 at Oceana High School - Room 212, 2nd period both days. It won't be on the printed schedule, but it is on the download schedule on the missive site. And many thanks to Elizabeth Schluntz for offering to teach it!

(Reminder  from Cat - 
There is a new schedule available on the missive site, there will not be new printed schedules the weekend.)

Reminder: Daylight Savings Time Ends This Saturday Night

Spring forward, fall back, which means we get an extra hour of sleep Saturday night.

Oceana This Weekend, Cow Palace Next Weekend

Stakeout for the vendors is this Saturday November 5th at the Cow Palace. 
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.

Oceana Report Card

(from Steve Johnson)

Dear Participants,
I have some good news and some bad news to report about our use of the school last weekend. In one of the classrooms the teacher's supplies were used and papers were moved around, which upset that classroom's teacher. So next weekend all workshops formerly held in Room 208 (Children/Youth/Oliver) will be moved to Room 105, and those in 105 (Vocal Projection/Caroling) will be moved to 208. I have sent a message of apology to the affected teacher and will replace her supplies.

Such incidents may harm our chance of returning next year.

The good news is that the rest of the school was left tidy, and trash and recycling were put in receptacles. And a big thank you for your generosity - you donated $640 for the Oceana Fund, which will go towards the school's garden project and science program. For those of you coming next weekend, I hope you can come close to matching those who have already contributed.

Here are ways you can help us next weekend:
1) Please leave the classroom at 5:30 -- the longer you linger past 5:30 the longer you keep the staff from cleaning and checking the rooms
2) There are cans for both trash and recycling - please take the time to separate them when dropping them off so we don't have to
3) Please no food or drinks in the classrooms
4) If you do any painting of sets, please put newspapers down on the floor (some will be available in the office) and wash brushes in the restrooms.


Steve Johnson
Dickens Fair School Liaison

Useful! Fun! Workshops are Great!

An exhortation to avail oneself of the cornucopia of theatrical refulgence that comprise our workshop offerings

(from Therese Porter)
For new folks they are a mysterious requirement. Many of the more grizzled and battle-hardened among us treat them as some sort of necessary evil. However, workshops afford a wonderful chance to acquire a broad array of theatrical and historical information in a fun and informal environment. The subjects presented are wide-ranging, and as with a lot of theatrical training, the benefits extend far off the stage and into ordinary life. If nothing else the historical stuff will keep you stocked with an astonishing array of conversational material, and the theatrical training can help you with job interviews, crisis management and even dating skills. Bonus!

We are pulling together an astonishingly huge and varied show in an impossibly short period of time. Time spent in workshops is as valuable as rehearsal time in polishing our presentations. Even if you think you know everything you need, you can always learn more. Even the most talented and experienced folks need a brush up of their skills and time spent learning is never time wasted. Some extraordinarily talented folks are presenting valuable lessons for FREE. Enjoy the process! Take as many workshops as you body and brain can stand.

Netflix and Chill Your Dickens! ~ Part Four

(from Therese Porter)
It's getting close to London time, and in addition to working on Dickens Fair preparation, you are probably feeling the need for some ways to relax. Look no further than a viewing of a Dickens adaptation! Relaxing AND improving!

Enjoy the period details and the terrific characterization

This week's suggested viewing is an adaptation of Dicken's "Bleak House
" (1985, 8 episodes - there is a more recent adaptation but while it has many virtues it takes an awful lot of liberties with the book).

This Masterpiece Theatre adaptation has aged well as a tightly crafted and careful rendering of Dickens' labyrinthine epic, with splendid characterisations in even the smallest roles. The impenetrable fog and pervasive dirt of London are inescapable in this adaptation, which brings a gritty veracity to the story set in London. The scenes in the countryside and manor houses are almost like palate cleansers in their richly detailed beauty before returning us to the dark and multi-layered story that plays out in the city.

Diana Rigg, Deneholm Elliot, Peter Vaughn join a sprawling cast of superb British actors who enrich the proceedings with finely honed interpretations of some of Dickens' most intriguing characters.

The fast paced story includes convoluted multi-generational secrets, greed, despair, intrigue, murder, and spontaneous human combustion! Something for everyone!

God Bless Christmas Keepers! Join Us!

(from Juanita Watkins and Therese Porter)
The Christmas Keepers is a group for people new to the Fair to get a feel for how Dickens Fair operates, as well as supporting the Fair through several practical and performance based endeavours.
The Fair is a first and foremost a show, and participants are its performers. Those accepted into the Christmas Keepers cast will train and work symbiotically with the Other Books cast, the group portraying characters from Dickens' novels and working interactively in the streets. Under the direction of Juanita Watkins (the "Questions Answered" lady) Christmas Keepers will engage in a variety of fun and interesting activities that will greatly enhance our visitors experience of the Fair.
The principal and most important part of the Christmas Keepers work at Dickens Fair is to take tickets and greet our guests. This is an important service to the Fair and great training for the interactive, immersive theatre that we do, as well as a terrific "first touch" for our incoming guests.

With Juanita's guidance Keepers who wish to will be able to "curate" our guests' experience by answering questions (from "Where is to the loo?" to "Who is that young lady with the crown and the enormous escort?" And so much more!). Keepers will learn about the Fair, its characters, its shows and attractions, and the entire range of excitement on offer so as to best share that rich panoply.
Christmas Keepers will also be expected to participate in the parades - filling out their numbers and helping to generate interest and enthusiasm amongst the audience.  When not performing those functions, Keepers will be spreading Dickensian cheer throughout the Fair.
All Christmas Keepers will be expected to draw their character from Dickens' works, and will be expected to embody that character physically and linguistically. As with all street characters, participants will be expected to provide their own, Fair-approvable costume.

If you are interested in becoming a Christmas Keeper, report to the area in front of Room 115 after the end of workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

Sonoma Tintype Returns to the Annex

(from Bruce Morton)

Sonoma Tintype will be taking original Tintypes (for participants only) at the Performers Annex on Saturdaysstarting Nov.19th. We should be ready by 10:00 am. If interested please try to stop by on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Saturday to avoid the rush. A 4 x 5 is $40.00 and a 5 x 7 is $60.00.

Bruce Morton

Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe is looking for you!

(from Sue Honor)

If you can spare 4 or more hours per day we have paid positions. We have openings for servers, to work in the kitchen or our Shoppe.

Experience preferred, but not required. Flexible schedule.

Contact Sue Honor at 

Mr. Brown's Fine Coffee and Tea open for service, including breakfast and gluten-free vegan lunch on dress rehearsal Sunday, November 13th

(from Kristi and Jeremy McMaster)

On dress rehearsal weekend, Come by for a hot cup of freshly roasted Mullah's Blend coffee, or Mullah's Spicy Chai, organic tea, or hot cocoa. Grab a sweet snack or apple/cheese/croissant platter. We also offer gluten-free vegan sweets. For Sunday of dress rehearsal weekend only, visit Mr. Brown's for a Mullah Mush and wienie breakfast. Also on Sunday of DRW only, try out our delicious, nourishing gluten-free vegan lunch, featuring Thai Pumpkin Curry on Jasmine Rice. We look forward to seeing you all soon! :)  

Sincerely, Kristi and Jeremy McMaster Mr. Brown's Fine Coffee and Tea

Call for the London Bulletin

(from "Lady Leonora Riley")

Lady Leonora Riley here, ace reporter for esteemed editor Justin Case and the London Bulletin. I can't make workshops this weekend (working in L.A.), so... do you want some free publicity for your Dickens group? Is your backstage soap opera the stuff of legend? Feel like robbing the Bank of London and blaming it on your long-lost brother? The Bulletin needs enough material for the first edition! Group leaders, please send your character list and this year's plot line to me at:, or PM me on Facebook. Note: Our policy is keep it fun and to attack characters, not actual people, and if you resent being accused of harboring druids in your basement - hey, you can always go after my boss. :)"

Reminder: Dickens 2016 - Participant Policy Handbook

(from Kevin Patterson)
We have a new Participant Policy Handbook.  It has been posted to the Missives Page for your convenience.  Hard copies will also be available at the workshop registration desk and the Pass house on-site.  

As a participant, you are expected to read the handbook and sign that you have received a copy (electronic or hard copy) when you pick up your gate pass.

Red Barn Productions is committed to fairness and openness in all our dealings, as well as to providing a safe and healthy environment for performers, workers, vendors and visitors.  We have designed the Handbook to facilitate the enactment of these principles and to better acquaint you with our general policies/practices. 

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read it,


Reminder: 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!   
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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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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Red Barn Productions, PO Box 1768, Novato, CA 94948
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