Sent 12/1/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - December Missive #1
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Thank you everyone for a all your hard work (and fun) over an amazing three day weekend!

We have more fun after hours events the next three weekends, with Storytelling, Postcards and Solstice (see below).

Thanks again and have a great weekend!


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

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

We're All In This Together - 
Kindness, Courtesy and Professionalism

(from Therese Porter) 
We're All In This Together
 We're in the middle of the run, and many of us are at the point when we realize that ours is both an exhilarating and exhausting avocation (albeit worth every bit of it). Although consideration of our fellow participants should always be high on our personal; priorities, now might be a good time to strive for extra kindness and compassion as our guiding lights. Let a smile and a kind word be your umbrella and watch fob (admittedly reaching for the period touch here). This has been a rough year, let's all lessen the sting by supporting one another. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and perhaps even offer a helping hand (and if it is refused, be gracious - none of us know the whole story). We should value our comrades in theatrical arms as much as our guests.
And be sure to take care of yourselves (self care is good). When you are rested, hydrated and handling yourself with compassion it is easier to pass that along to others.
In practical, professional terms, be aware of your surroundings. Don't do your huge, high energy, bit in front of a booth or a stage where it will be a distraction rather than the welcome addition we all want it to be. Support your performers by giving focus when and where you can, as well as facilitating our guests experience (many of them may not understand what they should be looking for without our gentle pointers). Follow the arrows indicating where you should be entering and exiting the curtains so you don't run into fellow performers.
One of things that our guests rave about is the sense of stepping into a marvelous space and time, making the the season merry, bright, safe and positive is more important than ever. So remember that whether you are a performer or a vendor, if you are participating you are part of the immersive magic that makes Dickens Fair so unique, and draws our guests back again and again. Our guests really are paying attention, so when you are within eye (and ear) shot of the audience, stay in period (remember your physical characterisation!), stay upbeat and energetic, and keep the 21st century somewhere else!

Kindness, courtesy and professionalism help keep us all part of the show, and make the show the wonderful and unique experience that it is for all of us. 
And as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!


Hours During the Week

 Monday, Thursday, Friday 8-5

Take Care of Yourselves/Quiet Room

(from Rickie Bolin) 

"If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to hear it scream."

I would like to remind everyone about the quiet room. It is the comfortable trailer next to the privies and white tent by the annex. There are cots for naps, soft carpeted floors for stretching, and even a massage table for services by our own Kevin Minney! Please, be mindful and enter/exit silently. I do hope you'll take advantage of this lovely wellness space.

In health ~Rickie

Notes from the Costume Department

(from Liz Martin) 

This is the last weekend for fastrack. We will be open from 8-12 noon and 4-5 p on Sat only.
Approvals are always available.
Thank you for all your support.


The Queen

(from Cat)

I wanted to add a quick reminder that if you are anywhere near the Queen and her entourage, your character should be aware that she is there and react accordingly. Whether it's "God Save the Queen" when she passes, a curtsy or bow, or just directing the sound of your gig a different direction, please be aware. A good example was the expanded Brass Farthing singing at the Green Man on Sunday, who stopped what they were doing and sang to her as her procession passed on Sunday - it was glorious. Another was Dennis Parks singing to her all by himself and telling those around him that he could now die a happy man. 

Remember that our reactions shape what the audience perceives and including them in our world is what we're all about.

The Gentle Art of Deference ~ Manners, Rank & The Queen

(from Therese Porter) 
The period and place we depict at Dickens Fair is a more visibly striated one and a more courteous. It adds to that sense of being in another time if we exhibit that vaunted courtesy and sense of paying deference. Simply put, we are respectful to our betters, and - one hopes - courteous to our social inferiors. It can be observed in the writing of the period that courtesy is the default rather than our somewhat careless modern manners. Think about how your character treats people - as always, how you deviate from the standard of politeness can be a theatrical point of interest (obsequious? nervous? confident? how does your courtesy manifest itself?). It is always better to err on the side of courtesy and deference - aside from upholding the social order, who knows what benefits might accrue? This is a little foreign to our American sensibilities, but it is a habit worth fostering. After all, these folks are just our fellow actors behind the curtain, but out in Our London they are given their reality by how we treat them, and our example shows our audience how to behave.
Those who hold rank should be especially singled out by bows and respectful address, and addressing people by name while paying deference enhances the effect (a bow, and a "Good morning, Your Grace!" to the Duke of Wellington, for example). The Prince Consort, the Royal children and court, the nobility mentioned in the novels (including Sir Mulberry Hawk, who is a Baronet, and Lord Verisopht, who is - hey! - a Lord), Mr.  Disraeli, &c are all people to whom we should be showing deference.
Lastly, as Robert Young has pointed out, the jewel in our collective crown is the Queen. When you see her, it should be a special moment that you can share with passerby. She is the mistress of an Empire upon which the Sun does not set - she is due the utmost and most enthusiastic respect and celebration. Pointing her out with enthusiasm, wonder, reverence, whatever your character would experience, helps our guests appreciate who they are seeing.
Being careful, respectful, courteous, deferential, &c also makes our bustling, crowded London a more enchanting and uplifting place. And who knows, it might carry over to real life!

Storytelling This Saturday with Peter Overstreet ~ Silk Road 8 - 9pm

(from Peter Overstreet)

Carrying on the great oral tradition of after hours storytelling, Peter Overstreet will be presenting an hour of stories (including a new original piece) to add to the magic and wonder into our little world. Stories begin at 8pm, Saturday (Dec 3) at the Silk Road stage. Bring your imagination (and a warm blanket) with you. Hope to see you there.

(Notes from Cat:
The Mullah's (Mr. Brown's) will be open as well, and please remember to bring your gatepasses)

Postcards' Popular Presentation for Participants ~ December 10th

(from Diana Young)
We know most of you don't have the chance to see our saucy show at the V&A because you're tending to your duties, making the holidays happy and bright for our patrons!  With that in mind, we like to offer a special after-hours performance for our fellow Dickens participants.  

This year the event will be on the 4th weekend, Saturday, December 10, at 8 PM (after the sweep is completed and our esteemed patrons have been joyously caroled out the door).  The pre-show will be the ever-popular Ballet Russe, exhibiting Russian song and dance replete with cymbalism and strong spirits.  This will be followed immediately by the all-new 2016 edition of Saucy French Postcards, a glimpse into the fertile minds of Horatio Everard and his enterprising wife, Letitia.  We look forward to sharing their innermost thoughts and visions with you all!  

A Simple Solstice - Closing Saturday

(from Kevin Patterson)

The tradition continues.  Much the same as last Season.  RSVP via Eventbrite will be available in next week's Missive.   

From KP

Fireman's Toy Drive - Participant Edition

(from Laurie Tavan)

The Fair is collecting toys from patrons, but why not from us as well! Would your cast like to join in?
On Royals Day, Saturday Dec. 10th, Her Majesty is donating 100+ toys to the drive. We are putting the unwrapped NEW toys into decorative sacks for delivery to the Adventurers Club (AC) during the Royals evening visit. Further details on timing are forthcoming. If you wish to plan a gig surrounding this idea please contact me:

New unwrapped toys may also be dropped off ahead of time at the Royals lock-up backstage (look for all the hanging Christmas stockings and the VR sign near the curtain to the Father Christmas Stage). 
Gifts should be put in cloth sacks (as simple as pillowcases from Goodwill, or as fancy as you like) for delivery on stage. To get things going, I've placed 4 large and 4 small burgundy sacks on the stocking rack, any cast is welcome to take a sack to fill and optionally decorate.

All toys collected are given to the Daly City Fire Department's "Operation Santa Claus" toy drive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ R.E.S.C.U. News!
(from Diane Gehling)

Dickens R.E.S.C.U. Rally
Thank you everyone for a wonderful kickoff to this year's Dickens R.E.S.C.U. Rally!

Our goal this year is to reach over $5,000! Each year Red Barn Productions matches the amount raised by participants. Last year we raised $4,800 and for the year 2014 we raised 4400!!! An increase of $400!

Donations have already started to come in. This weekend and next, I will have a full team so that we will be able to come by your booth and pick up your donation or sell tickets to you for the drawing.

Don't forget you will be able to recognize us by our RESCU Pins. You do not have to be present to win. We will deliver your present (s) to you. 

We have specialty boxes for a few items such as: Dinner for Two at the Tippling Toad, $200 Gift Certificate from Mr. Alan Jeffries, High Tea for 2 at the Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe, $50 Gift Certificate from Nana's Nursery and a basket from Nana's Nursery to name a few.

If you have any questions and you can't find me, ask any of the R.E.S.C.U. Team. Elizabeth can be found at The Mermaid Ale Stand, Charlie is at the Oudeman Art Glass Booth, David is at Thaddeus Scarf Cart by Piuma Feather Arts Booth.

Ticket prices are: $1 = 1 ticket; $5 = 6 tickets; $10 = 12 tickets; $15 =18 tickets, $20 = 25 tickets, $50 = 70 tickets. The raffle will be held on Saturday, Dec.17. at 4:00 p.m. Certain items will have their own container so to better your chances. 
For more information, purchasing tickets, donations, etc. contact Kat at

Dickens Family Crazy Quilt
Two years ago we started to sell squares to make a Dickens Family Crazy Quilt. A 14" x14" square is $15 and can be bought at the R.E.S.C.U. table and returned any time during the Dickens Faire. The square does not have to be done by the end of the season. You can return it next year. However, the earlier the square is completed, the less likely it will be forgotten about. Amanda (from the hair braiders booth) is giving freely of her time and talent to put the squares together to make this special quilt for us with all the proceeds going to R.E.S.C.U. We'd like to continue selling squares in hopes that soon we will have enough squares sold and returned so the quilt can start being put together and displayed.

Privy Apology

Apologies from Mark for the lack of privy pumping prior to last Friday. It was scheduled for the Monday after first weekend, but they didn't show up, and because of the Thanksgiving holiday, no one noticed until we arrived on site Friday morning. They are all scheduled to be cleaned out after every fair day.

The Entre'Actes Show Is Looking for Boots & Pram

(from Ellen Hoffman)

(1) Men's oversized boots (not shoes) size 14 or larger - (the more worn out they look, they better) and 

(2) An old fashioned looking pram, roomy enough for a nimble energetic smallish adult in great shape to squeeze into. 

Please write me at



Dickens Participants Invited to Attend The California Revels 

(from Kevin Patterson)

A limited number of free tickets are available as part of a ticket trade between Dickens and Revels.

For more info about Revels visit:

To claim tickets to Revels (while they last) email:  and put "Dickens Tickets" in the subject line and they will send an email confirmation of your reservation. 
Good ONLY - for any performance Dec 9-11 & Dec 16-18


Kevin Patterson

Reminder: No More  Email Addresses

Please note all of the email addresses have gone away.
Please update your address books to use the following email addresses: 

Reminder: A Refresher on Participant Tickets and Will Call

Just some refresher information on this... Participant tickets are only $15 and are good 'any one day' of the Fair. Children's participant tickets (5-12 years of age) are $10. You must present a valid 2016 gate pass.  Normal price is $30 for each day - so this is a great deal!  They are available at the Pass House and credit cards are accepted.   Will call envelopes are also available at the Pass House so you can purchase tickets and place them in the envelope basket which will be delivered to the Will Call booth at front gate each Fair morning at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, and 10:30.
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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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Red Barn Productions,PO Box 1768, Novato, CA 94948
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