Sent 8/5/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - August Missive #1
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Lots of information and audition/casting notices today.  Also an important note:

Robert Young has been having issues with his email address and is using a new address, it's Please update your address books.

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

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

Notes About Joining Dickens, Book Casts & Christmas Keepers

(from Therese Porter) 

As the first missives roll out, you may be getting excited about joining the grand panoply that is the Great Dickens Christmas Fair cast or changing where you participate.

Numerous individual casts will be starting their auditions soon (or have already done so) but if you are interested in specifically joining the Other Books cast, that audition will be taking place sometime between late August and mid-September, and details will be included in a future Missive

If you are in a cast already and are thinking of moving from it to Other Books, please discuss this with your Director(s). If you have questions about being Other Books that are not answered by consulting the website or previous Missives, you can email Therese Porter ( who co-directs the cast with Rydell Downward. Therese is also the Director of A Christmas Carol, and information about roles and auditions will go out the same time as that of Other Books.

If you are new to Dickens, one of the best way to get your feet wet is to join the Christmas Keepers. This group was formed specifically to help people new to the Fair find out what they like to do at Dickens while helping support the show in a variety of capacities. Closer to the Workshop period the Christmas Keepers Director will be including information about becoming part of that group in a Missive. 

Netflix and Chill Your Dickens ~ Part One

(from Therese Porter) 

In-home Cinema & Cool Down 
(so much more improving than Netflix & Chill)

Because of their exciting story lines, broad range of human experience and vivid characters, Mr Dickens' works have inspired theatrical adaptations since he first wrote them, and were among the first literary works to be translated into film. There are marvelous adaptations of Dickens available through the miracle of modern technology that enable one to enjoy Dickens in the comfort of one's own domicile.  Starting this summer, a variety of suggested adaptations will be offered in the Missive to help you enjoyably get your Dickens bearings, assist your research and help you craft your performance. Preparation has never been easier - pop some corn, invite a friend or two, pour a refreshing beverage,  and settle in!

Even if you are not playing a character specifically from Dickens' work, each of us is performing in a Dickensian world, so you cannot be too big, bright and bold regardless of your place in the food chain! If in the course of your viewing you see a quirk, a tic, a manner of speech that appeals to you and will enhance your characterisation, consider incorporating it into your character (as we are fond of saying, there is no copyright on body language).  And if you are moved to portray a specific character, consider preparing an audition for one of the book casts - A Christmas Carol, Oliver or Other Books (Fezziwig's also draws heavily on Our Author for their characters).

DAVID COPPERFIELD: We start with the lively, engaging and charming 1999 BBC "David Copperfield," which features a stellar cast including Bob Hoskins, Dame Maggie Smith, Ian McKellan and a young Daniel Radcliffe. All of the casting beautifully illuminates Dickens' remarkable characters, and the scenes bristle with the energy of his prose. The extended adaptation allows a good deal of the book to be portrayed with care and attention to detail. All of the characters are vividly true and a pleasure to watch.

Copperfield is Dickens' "Self Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and this adaptation does the book Dickens called his "favourite child" justice.

Now is the time to start thinking about your Dickens Costume! 

(from Liz Martin) 

Now is the time to start thinking about your Dickens Costume! 
Pull it out and put it on! Check for needed repairs, alterations, 
Ask yourself (honestly) does it still fit? Is it time for a new piece or a whole new costume? 
There are costumers available NOW to help you create your 2016 Dickens Fair look! Don't wait to the last minute!

This reminder brought to you by the Costumers Sanity Commission 

Auditions for All-Female Singing Group on Mad Sal's Stage
 ~ August 11th

(from Jennifer Damico Murphy)

Announcing Auditions for a new all-female singing group appearing on the Mad Sal's stage (Group name to be determined)

WHEN: Thursday, August 11th at 7:30 PM

WHERE: 1156 Belmont Ave, Vallejo, CA

WHAT: Please prepare a brief song, selected from music hall, a folk tune, a ren faire tune, or a song from a musical. Please no modern rock or pop tunes. We will not have piano accompaniment so feel free to perform a capella or with your own instrument.

THE SHOW: The female residents of Mad Sal's Dockside Alehouse. In addition to performing twice daily and in Blow Out, performers will be asked to create atmosphere at Sal's from time to time appearing as though they work there by filling drinks for cast members, chatting up the customers and generally being entertaining without drawing focus away from the stage. Performers need not be exceptional soloists to be cast, but all should be strong singers and performers

Your directors: The group will be directed by Jennifer (Jenna) Damico Murphy and Gina Alonzo. We've been around the fair environment for many years with groups such as Stark Ravens, St. Simons, Seadogs/Paddy West (Jennifer), and Captain's Dotter.

If you are interested in auditioning or have any questions please contact us right away via private message on Facebook or by email at:

Happy Christmas!


Reminder: Auditions for The New Music Hall Show at Sal's
 ~ August 13th

(from Sandey Grinn)

Reminder: Auditions for The New Music Hall Show at Sal's will be held on Saturday, August 13th from 10:00 to 3:00 at the BFUU Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94709. We are looking to cast the following roles: 

LANCE (Male Lead) - Egotistical, charming, woman's man, a slightly smarmy version of Gene Kelly

VICTOR (Diva's Husband) - Naive, good hearted, knows nothing of wife's affair (because he is the very last to know)

LILLY (Diva) - The headliner, star, God's gift to our stage. The audience is impressed by her talents while the cast tries to avoid her - except, of course, for Lance Hardly, who is seeing her clandestinely.

SAM (Shy Male Cast Member) - Loves Elizabeth but doesn't know how to tell her (thankfully, when pressed, he can sing it to her pretty well)

ROSEOLA (Lush) - Was once the star, or at least that's what she tells anyone who will listen. Bitter and a bit drunk throughout, she's somehow able to pull it together for the group numbers.

ELIZABETH (Ingénue) - Sweet, pure, optimistic, worships Lance from afar (and sadly doesn't realize as we do that she's too good for him)

THE REST (2 male, 2 female) - Happy, supportive, perky, trying to dodge the drama however they can, singing and dancing (and understudying the leads)

To audition, please email (with MUSIC HALL AUDITIONS in the subject line) the character - or characters - you're most interested in trying out for, your contact number and email address - I'll get back to you asap with your audition time. Come to the audition with a prepared song along with its sheet music (if you'd like to be accompanied - period song preferred but not required), a comedic monologue (or story or joke) and wear something you can easily move in. 

Any questions? Email me at the above address. Thanks - Sandey Grinn


Seeking Actors for the Melodrama Jack is Back!

(from Heather Roni) 

Seeking actors for the melodrama Jack is Back! This comedy has been very well received by audiences of all ages in recent years and is, first and foremost, a children's show. There is subtle comedy that will appeal to adults as well. We are seeking to fill two parts this year:

Ingenue (Geranium): Female, late teens to late 20's, can play innocent and naive.
Villain (Sam Snidely): Male, late 30's to 50, can play comically lecherous without upsetting the children.

Auditions have not yet been scheduled, but if you're interested, please contact director Heather Swarner at or Heather Roni on Facebook. Facebook messages are preferable.

From the Toy Parade:

(from Robin Edwards Harvey

If you  or your child is looking for a new home, the Toy Parade welcomes all children, and those who love being around children, from ages 3 months - 90 years old, please contact Robin Edwards Harvey

If you, or you child were in the cast last year please contact Robin to confirm whether you'll be returning this season. 

Thinking Fondly of Saucy French Postcards?

(from Diana Young) 

We will be auditioning/interviewing for new cast and crew on the first day of workshops.  If you're thinking about joining the lively and hard-working bunch who create our comical romp, this is your chance!  This year we again explore the artful ways Letitia and Horatio Everard, a loving couple of "a certain age," keep the magic alive in their marriage.  All very tastefully, of course.  After all, they ARE English!  (And Victorian.  Ahem.)  The big, happy Postcards family includes adults (18+) of all ages, shapes and hues, and there are roles onstage and off to suit every degree of modesty - or lack thereof.  

For more information or answers to your questions, contact Diana Young (                          

So you would like to help us sing in the holidays!

(from Bob Crabb) 

There is always room for more who would like to sing.  Coventry Carolers is always looking for more singers especially basses.  There will be rehearsals {and "auditions"} each afternoon at  workshops.  There will also be a scheduled rehearsal or two before workshops.  If you are interested or have questions, please email me, Bob Crabb, at:

PEERS: A Victorian Gothic Ball ~ Saturday, September 3rd
(from Cathleen Myers)
It was a dark and stormy night. The mysterious, brooding, and extremely eligible Mr. Rochester has invited you to a ball at Thornfield Manor - rumored to harbor a terrifying secret. Come, spend an evening with us in Charlotte Bronte's classic Victorian Gothic novel Jane Eyre. 

Bangers and Mash plays an evening of early Victorian ballroom dances and set dances, including the Quadrille and Lancers and their usual beautiful waltzes, polkas, mazurka waltzes, and schottisches. They will also play our Neo-Victorian favourites, the Congress of Vienna Waltz and the Bohemian National Polka. There will be a pre-ball dance class at 7 pm and formal dancing follows from 8 pm to midnight. All set dances will be briefly taught and called at the ball. No partners required.

Evening dress of the 1830's, 40's, and 50's or modern evening dress is admired, but not required. Both civilian and military dress is welcome.  Light refreshments (potluck contributions welcome) and a no-host bar.

Alameda Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
Doors Open: 6:30 p.m., Dance Lesson: 7:00 p.m.
Dancing Begins: 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance (through August 27); $25 at the door. For ticket information, see  If you have any questions, please call (510) 522-1731 or
James & Cathleen Myers
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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
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