The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive


Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2020 – July Missive #1



Notes from your Missive Maven:


Hope you’re all staying safe and well.

Much love,


Cat Taylor

Entertainment Director & Missive Maven
In This Missive


Who are we? What do we stand for? What’s next for Red Barn Productions and The Great Dickens Christmas Fair?


It seems important at this time to review where we come from, who we are, and where we are going. Our company is and always has been, dedicated to the love of learning, creativity, and the evolution of our unique concept of theatrical living history.

Begun in 1963 by educators and theatre artists, Ron and Phyllis Patterson, the founding beliefs of Patterson events are humanistic, participatory, and culturally innovative. They were looking to make a difference in the world by producing their events as celebrations of the human spirit. The Dickens Christmas Fair is the living embodiment of these tenets. As a result, our belief has always been that our theatre form, and our event environment is welcoming and respectful to all people. It is intrinsically human, safe, and inclusive. Love and respect are our guiding principles. In all things. Our way of managing, our policies, and our daily interactions as managers have been consistent in this way for nearly 60 years. We will always strive to grow, and learn, and move forward with everyone who wishes to be part of the game of living history.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused the cancellation of this year’s Fair and as a result we will not be able to gather in human celebration just when we need it most. For family and friends, our community, and indeed our country and planet, this is a time of significant change and difficulty. We must all take care to remain healthy and loving in this process so that we may contribute in every way possible to a better future. Please help everyone you can to remember this …and to vote in November!

It has been brought to the attention of Red Barn Productions that Mr. Haggard, a vendor at the Dickens Fair, posted racist comments on social media. Those of us in leadership were stunned and deeply disappointed to learn of these posts, consequently he and Heritage Meat Pies will not be welcome back to our event. Our policy handbook and our position statement on our website are very clear on this and will be further revised prior to our next event.

As it relates to our ethic of inclusiveness, we are currently examining how we can more fully support everyone in our community and will be adding a Diversity Advisory Group with representatives of all groups who wish to contribute. We will also be working together to design an education program focused on the history of diverse groups in Victorian London, through workshops and public outreach. If you have suggestions, please email them to

Red Barn Productions is now closing its operations and going on hiatus. In the Spring of 2021, we will come back together and begin the process of rebooting our company and our show.  At that time, we will reassess the situation with regard to the virus, society, and the arts world, and design a safe and professional event accordingly.

In the short term, a small project team will come together to create online opportunities to bring the warmth and spirit of the holidays into our homes this season. We’re calling the project Dickens Fair at Home! We are keeping it simple, engaging and beautiful – a gift for all those who love The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. You may be hearing from our elves as they collect tidbits of wonder and delight to include. Other than that, we will be closed for business to minimize overhead in order to survive the long down time. Our social media sites, managed by volunteer admins, should be focused on sharing our love of theatre and history. Management items, as always, should be handled entirely via email and the Missive as needed.

With evolving love since 1963,

The Patterson family

Please direct any thoughts or responses to Kevin at

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