Charles Dickens to return to Second Life

TDP-15-posterSeanchai Library has announced the return of one of their popular seasonal presentations: The Dickens Project.

First presented in 2012 to mark the 200th anniversary of author Charles Dickens’ birth, The Dickens Project is an interactive, immersive event focus on what is probably his most well-known story, A Christmas Carol.

The 9-day festival will commence on Saturday, December 12th and will present over 15 hours of reading from various adaptations of the story, set within a special Victorian environment. Presentations will take place at different times of the day throughout the festival in order to make reading the readings accessible to residents from around the world. Those attending will be invited to tour the set, where they will encounter interactive information on the times and work of Charles Dickens, and a seasonal ball will round-out proceedings at the end of the festival.

There will be no charge for those attending readings, but donations will be accepted on behalf of the Community Virtual Library, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, connecting residents with information resources, reference services, and serving as a networking tool for information resource professionals.

Caledonia Skytower, Shandon Loring (centre) and Kayden Oconnell in an evocative shot of the virtual / live performance by Bear Silvershade
Caledonia Skytower, Shandon Loring (centre) and Kayden Oconnell in an evocative shot of the virtual / live performance by Bear Silvershade

A Christmas Carol has been a seasonal favourite with people from all around the globe since its first publication. It has been serialised, dramatised, and made into numerous films over the decades, and has seen a number of television and radio serialisations. It’s also a story which succeeded purely as a result of Dickens’ own determination: he self published the book.

For an author if his stature at that time, such an act was unheard-of. Yet Dickens did just that. He hired an illustrator and supervised the work, he oversaw the book’s design and consulted on the advertising.  His publishers Chapman and Hall, who had demurred on the project, served only as his printers and received a fixed fee from every book sold.

The Dickens Project also has its own uniqueness. In 2013, following the success of the 2012 festival and preceding that of 2013,  there was a special performance of a Christmas Carol which crossed the digital and physical world divide. On December 1st 2013,  Caledonia Skytower, in her alter ego of writer Judith Cullen, performed before a live audience at the Knights of Pythia Temple in Tacoma, Washington, USA, while on a large screen beside her, fellow presenters Kayden Oconnell and Shandon Loring appeared from within Second Life.

As noted above, this year’s production will take place in a period setting, with members of the Seanchai Library staff also dressed in period costume. In keeping with this, audience members will be invited (but not obliged) to also attend in dress suitable for the wintry setting of the story, and suitable for the Victorian era, to add to the general ambience.

The final schedule for The Dickens Project 2015 has yet to be set, but you can be sure that when it has been, I’ll be providing it through these pages together with SLurls to the event, and may also have some behind-the-scenes photos to hopefully whet appetites!

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