Saturday 19 November 2011


Charles Dickens was a conjuror: he produced unforgettable characters and scenes out of thin air and made them an indelible part of national – and world – culture; but he was also a keen amateur magician who amazed his literary friends with his acts of legerdemain.

Dickens has now become inseparably associated with the Christmas season – largely as a result of that 1843 ghost-story-with-a-moral, A Christmas Carol, and the other Christmas Books that followed.

The story of the tight-fisted Ebenezer Scrooge, Marley's Ghost, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come has been told and re-told to a point when it has ceased to be a literary phenomenon and has assumed a mythic status.

With the success of what Dickens called his little "Ghost Story of Christmas", the Victorian theatre – where ghosts were being regularly being conjured as an ingredient of plays and programmes of entertainment – began calling up Scrooge's spectral visitors with the aid of the cutting-edge special effects technology of their age.

This December the British Library celebrates the author's particular fascination with ghostliness and spookery in an exhibition, A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural.

Theatre Poster

To coincide with the event, David and I are presenting a couple of performances of A Christmas Carol and the Conjuror: a divertissement combining a reading by me of Dickens' famous text – as abridged and performed by the author in his Public Readings of 1858 – interspersed with magical interludes from David featuring a cavalcade of mystifying tricks inspired by Scrooge's saga.

Performances are on Friday 9 December 2011 at 6:30 and Saturday 10 December at 2:30.

Don't be a HUMBUG: BOOK NOW!

Portrait of Dickens by Scala


elizabethanne said...

Oh, how I wish I could be there! Why do I live so far away?

I must get my copy of A Christmas Carol out and read it on one of those nights, and imagine myself there, at any rate.

SCB/Beth/you know...

Suzanne said...

I don't suppose David will be performing in Durham in April?
I absolutely love the poster!

Boll Weavil said...

Back on home territory Mr B. Sounds like a magical performance !

Brian Sibley said...

elizabethanne – No, it's me who lives so far away! ;)

Suzanne – Why Durham in April?

Yes, the poster is great: one of the items on display in the new British Library exhibition.

Boll – True! Summer and Autumn: Wonderland and Gormenghast; Winter: Scroogeville!

Actually, it's a few years since I publicly read the Carol, so I am a little nervous knowing that the spirit of Chas D will, inevitably, be hovering close by!

Boll Weavil said...

...and he is standing, in the spirit, at your shoulder !

Roger O B... said...

We'll be there , heckling, on Friday!

Roger & Sheila
GRIANCO: grey wine

Brian Sibley said...

Boll – the Man himself says! :)

Roger – Very reassuring! ;)

WendyLady@GoodBooks said...

Oh, I would love this! We are actually possibly making a December trip to London, but not until later in the month, so we'd miss your performances. Bah and Humbug!

Maybe we'll make it to see the exhibition at the British LIbrary, if it's still on. Have a wonderful show - break a leg!

Brian Sibley said...

The exhibition will be on until the March, so you will certainly be able to catch it.

TitusL said...

Amazing poster,
Thought you might like my machinima version of A Christmas Carol

Brian Sibley said...

Celestial Elf - Thank you! I have many versions of A Christmas Carol in my collection and another is always welcome!

SharonM said...

What a good idea of Suzanne's to perform it in Durham - so easy to then up up to Glasgow and do a repeat performance!

Suzanne said...

I don't often go over to England, but I have finally decided I have to see Durham cathedral, so I am having a mini-break at Easter...
It would be great evening out!