The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2018 - August Missive #2
Notes from your Missive Maven:
A bit of Living History and many audition notices today, it's that time...


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Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director & Missive Maven
In This Missive

A Bit of LHC History

(from Kevin Patterson)

I thought some historical context might be useful especially for those who are newer to what we do and who we are. Sorry if it seems lengthy, but this is actually the short version. The announcement made in the previous missive has been a long time coming.

The Living History Centre, affectionately referred to as the LHC, was founded in 1968 by my parents Ron and Phyllis Patterson. The Centre's mission is perhaps summed up best by its slogan, "we trick into leaning with a laugh."

The LHC stopped producing Faires and programs in about 1998, and has stayed active as a foundation, providing small grants to arts and educational organizations for the past twenty years.

The rebirth of the Living History Centre as a presenter of educational programming has been a dream of mine ever since. That dream started becoming a reality when Leslie and I were invited to rejoin the LHC board a few years ago. The aging board (several original members) made it clear to us that they wanted to see the LHC have new leadership and vision, and to reconnect with the Centre's past in meaningful ways. We are excited to be simultaneously fulfilling those requests and our long held dream.  

Red Barn Productions has now been working with the LHC board for the past two years to provide space for the LHC library, along with the 'Patterson Faires' archives, and the funding to bring back the LHCs educational programs. The first of these programs are the Theatrical Living History Workshops for Dickens Fair participants. 

I hope this little history lesson is helpful. It is our shared 'living history' after all.

The Workshop program will not change substantially in format, but will begin a renewed focus on the technique we call Theatrical Living History and on the learning process throughout the course of the Fair. The LHCs history is filled with many nuggets of educational and programming gold. Workshop teachers, Dickens Fair theatrical directors and others will now have access to these Archives. Those with interest may email

In addition to my role as Dickens Fair co-Producer, I am a volunteer board member of the LHC. I have tremendous energy and enthusiasm for developing LHC programs and resources that will benefit our broader Fair community, school age children, and like-minded organizations. It's in my DNA, literally and figuratively and I look forward to creating opportunities to get involved for others who share this passion. Stay tuned! It is an ongoing long-term process! 

As always, I am happy to hear from you, especially via email Yours in historical merriment! 


Auditions for Characters from the Mind of Mr. Dickens

Specific information on location and time will be in a forthcoming missive, but here are some of the characters we're looking for and how the process works to get you started.

*Characters needed from A Christmas Carol will be announced in a forthcoming missive.*

The Audition Process

(from Therese Porter)

If you're interested in auditioning for a character, please prepare yourself. This is an audition - you are showing your prospective director your potential. Preparation ensures that you shine in your best light.

Memorize a brief monologue from a character you're interested in, or if you are not sure about a character, prepare for the type of character you are interested in playing. We'll be looking for your ability to form a distinct characterization as well as your ability to project yourself vocally and physically. We will also ask you to do some cold readings and free-form improvisation. Please come prepared.

Here's a great page to learn more about Dickens' characters and the books in which they live:

Characters from Oliver Twist

(from Cynthia Howell)

Oliver Twist
The youthful innocent boy around whom the entire story revolves. Must look and act innocent and stout-hearted. Projection a big plus. Looking for a child 9-12 who wants to act. This role may be full or part-time

Harry Maylie
An up and coming politician who is madly in love with Rose. Harry sacrifices everything to convince Rose to marry him. Looking for a male actor between 20-40.

Pickwick Club Casting! 

(from Jeffrey Weissman)

We'd like performers to be versed in Parliamentary Procedure, somewhat verbose raconteurs and sing (not necessarily well). 

Samuel Pickwick:  a retired successful businessman, mostly a passive and innocent with a childlike simplicity, he's a round-faced, clean-shaven, portly gentleman wearing spectacles.  H e is gallant towards women, yet indecisive with his dealings with them. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Pickwick Club, who with his friends, Mr Nathaniel Winkle, Mr Augustus Snodgrass and Mr Tracy Tupman, travel through London from one comic disaster to another in pursuit of adventure or honour. 

Mr Augustus Snodgrass: A young, innocuous fellow, he is the poet of the Pickwick Club, (he recites, but never writes a line of verse). 

Mr Nathaniel Winkle: A very inept young sportsman, Winkle has a flair for misadventures.

We are mounting the 'The Trial of Pickwick' and are also looking for part-time characters to fill the roles of: 

Magistrate, Mr George Nupkins, 
and his comic special constables: 
Mr Jinks, 
Mr Muzzle 
Mr Grummer
And four other support players, three men and one woman, (a few lines each).

Are You the Dickensian Type? Consider Other Books!

(from  Therese Porter & Rydell Downward)
Want to exercise your artistic muscles and make our guests' experience even more Dickensian? Consider auditioning for the Other Books! Mr Dickens' works are filled with fabulous characters spanning the entire range of human expression and drawing from all walks of life. Colourful eccentrics? You betcha! Solid salt of the earth types? Yup. Exaggerated versions of every Victorian type imaginable? Oh yeah. Villains? We've got those too. You have theatrical muscles you want to stretch? There is probably a Dickens character waiting for you to step into it.
As we are fond of saying, we put the "Dickens" in Dickens Fair!
As an ensemble cast of improvisational actors our role at the Fair is to continually interact with our guests and fellow participants providing those unique Dickensian moments that make our immersive world so unique. We are looking for experienced improvisational, interactive performers to fill out our merry band and populate the streets with the vivid and memorable characters sprung from the fevered imagination of Charles Dickens. All of the Fair is our stage, and its throngs our ever-changing audience. This is a full time commitment that requires energy, enthusiasm, strong improvisational skills and tremendous esprit de corps.
This year we are especially looking for:
Ralph Nickleby (Nicholas Nickleby): A "respectable" and powerful man of business with family issues and few dark secrets
Miss LaCreevy (Nicholas Nickleby): A lively and artistic lady of a certain age who helps and supports the Nickleby family through its travails.
Agnes Wickfield (David Copperfield) - a steady practical, and brave young woman. David's closest friend, most loyal supporter and ultimately his second wife.
Nicodemus "Noddy" Boffin (Our Mutual Friend): The "Golden Dustman" - a lively, generous, outgoing older man with a marvelous rags-to-riches story.
Philip Pirrip aka Pip (Great Expectations): a young man with an earnest heart, a taste for the finer things of life and a mystery at the core of his life.
Estella (Great Expectations): a young woman of spirit and a troubled upbringing, the idol of Pip's worship.
Mr Jaggers (Great Expectations): a faintly eccentric lawyer with an entire vault of secrets consigned to his care
Herbert Pocket (Great Expectations): Pip's friend and guide through London life.
Mollie (Great Expectations): Jaggers' servant, who has a few secrets of her own.
Magwich (Great Expectations): convict, benefactor, man of mystery, diamond in the rough.
Interested in other characters (and there are so many other characters)? Prepare an audition and show us what you got!
Dickens' characters run the gamut of age, physical appearance, station in life and personality types. People frequently ask us what we are looking for - we want people who love to act and interact and who can bring Our Author's characters to life. No character in Dickens is a small one - each one is a canvas bristling with possibilities. For inspiration, peruse the works of Dickens (online or actual pages) or watch some of the brilliant British TV and film adaptations of his works for an idea of the kinds of characters that exist in the Dickens universe. Even if the roles you're thinking about are filled, giving us an idea of the "type" that interests you, can help us match you up with a role that you find fulfilling.
~ Therese Porter & Rydell Downward

Fezziwigs Warehouse is Looking for Outgoing People

(from Mr. & Mrs. Fezziwig)

"We can dance if we want to.  We can leave your friends behind.  'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance, then they're no friends of mine."  Does this sound like your life?  Then Fezziwigs wants YOU!
Fezziwigs Warehouse is always looking for new actors who dance and dancers who act to join our team.  Not 100% confident with your acting or dancing?  Don't worry - what we really need are people who are willing to TRY.
Those interested in joining the happiest little company party on earth should email the directors, Dave Batzloff (Mr. Fezziwig) and Elizabeth Schluntz (Mrs. Fezziwig) at

Wanted: Ingenue to Audition for the Music Hall Cast in the V&A!

(from Ellen Hoffman) 

We need someone who has a somewhat flexible schedule to be able to take a turn probably once a weekend, maybe twice. 
We're looking for a talented female who is 
(1) under 30 or LOOKS under 30. 
(2) has a strong singing background, a good ear, and knows something about English Music Hall. 
(3) is good to work with - a reliable team player offstage, and a BLAST of vibrant energy onstage!  
(4) can come to just a few rehearsals and learn her music mostly on her own. Aha! 

If you are that person and would like to join our cast, please send email to   
If you meet all the other qualifications but don't know much about English Music Hall, I suggest you run quickly to YouTube, type in English Music Hall and start inhaling rapidly! 


Sal's Dockside Music Hall Seeks Young Man to Join Our Cast

(from Ed Pizzini) 
You! Yes, you! Are you male and between the ages of 18 - 26? Do you have strong vocal chops?  Have you ever dreamed of life on the rickety stage? The glamour and paste of fame? Well this may be your opportunity to reach for the slums! 
Prospective cast members should be able to sing and act and be comfortable with both light choreography and occasional (or not so occasional) improv on stage.  For this particular role we are most interested in strong singing ability and seeing your natural stage presence.
During the audition, you will need to sing a prepared piece alongside our esteemed accompanist and learn part of a song on the spot. You will also likely be asked to perform a bit of improv and movement.
So if you are a) Male and b) between the ages of 18 and 26 and would like to audition for the show, please email us at  (with MUSIC  HALL AUDITIONS in the subject line).  
Ed Pizzini, Director

Alice Needs More Wonderland Folk

(from Kim Murphy & Miles Gilster)

The Alice in Wonderland cast is growing. We would like to add two more adult gentlemen to perform as Cards/stand-ins for other male characters. Must be able to memorize lines and be comfortable on stage and with street performing. We are also looking for a young lady to perform as our back-up Alice. Again must be able to memorize lines, be comfortable on stage and with street performance, and able to work at least half the run of faire. Preferably age 15+. Finally, we are looking for an adult female to understudy for the Queen of Hearts. Stage and line memorization required. 

All character costumes will be provided except for underclothes, shoes, and socks. You will need to provide your own out-of-character costume-approved Victorian clothes. 
If interested, please contact Kim Murphy (Director) at or Miles Gilster (Co- Director) at

Seeking Cast for a Sensational Dramatic Piece! 

(from Heather Swarner)

Seeking cast for a sensational dramatic piece! 

With exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions!! 

That's right, we're casting a MELODRAMA! 
A period piece, with vaudeville style antics, a tight-knit cast, and plenty of audience interaction to be performed on the Father Christmas Stage.

Female:  18-25, Young, Pretty, Heart of gold, ingĂ©nue type. 

Male: 18-30 Youthful, Handsome, the classic "Good Guy". Love interest for the ingenue.

Male: 30-65 Mature, villainous, bold, strong character actor with grounded presence and strong command of voice and space. 

Cast members are required to attend all preseason rehearsal in Pacifica. Costumes for on-stage performances will be provided, but all performers must provide personal costume to wear the rest of the time. There is a small daily stipend for performance days.

To schedule an audition, please submit headshot and resume to:

New Saucy French Postcards!

(from Diana Young)

Saucy French Postcards returns with "Gods & Heroes," a new episode in the private lives of Horatio and Letitia Everard.  This year we feature the fertile imaginings of Mrs. Everard as she invokes images of idealized masculinity, and fulsome feminine appreciation thereof.  Needless to say, Mr. Everard finds this a stimulating tonic to his spirits, and has a few imaginings of his own...  

Why not join us as we conjure stirring tableaux inspired by myth and history, classical art and Victorian whimsy!  Don't be shy.  All those 18 and over interested in participating in this artistic, comical, and thought-provoking romp are invited to contact the director, Diana Young (, for further information.  

PEERS' "The Doctor Dances with Jane Austen: 1795 -
This Saturday, September 1st

(from Cathleen Myers)

PEERS' "The Doctor Dances with Jane Austen: 1795
Are you a Jane Austen fan, a "Doctor Who" fan, a dancer, or a costumer?  Well...On Saturday evening, September 1, PEERS presents The Doctor Dances with Jane Austen: 1795 - a grand Regency Ball inspired by a scene from "Doctor Who" - at the Alameda Elks Lodge at 2255 Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda. 

After the 7pm dance lesson, Bangers & Mash plays an evening of late 18th Century and early 19th Century waltzes and English Country Dances. No partners needed and all set dances will be taught and called. Late 18th Century or Regency costume, modern evening dress, or costumes inspired by "Doctor Who" are admired, but not required. 

No host bar, a light potluck snack buffet, and an adventure! Tickets are $20 (by August 25); $25 at the door. For information, please call (510) 522-1731, or check out the ball website at
Thank you & best regards,
Cathleen Myers
Artistic Director, PEERS

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