In 2012, and to mark Dickens Bicentenary Year. Seanchai Library created The Dickens Project, a celebration of the life and times of Charles Dickens, focused around what is perhaps his most popular novel – and one which still resonates with meaning today – A Christmas Carol. Since then the event has evolved and grown over the years, in the process becoming a Second Life Tradition.
In 2017, to mark the its fifth anniversary, The Dickens Project will open its doors on Saturday, November 25th, 2017, and run through until Saturday, December 30th, 2017 in a region-wide immersive environment, where visitors can trace Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey, from his place of business, to his home, and onward through his travels with the Ghosts of Christmas to the end of his story. There are also numerous opportunities to learn more about Charles Dickens, his works, the popularity of A Christmas Carol down through the years and – of course – hear the story itself through a series of readings by the Seanchai Library and friends.
However, there will also be so much more going on over the course of the five weeks, with weekly DJ sessions, stage performances by Guerilla Burlesque, and Misfit Dance & Performance Art, and tours of the experience. For those who prefer to ride rather than walk, there is a carriage ride around the region, pulled by a magnificent shire horse, and balloon rides for a heady Victorian experience in what is designed to be an inspirational build evoking the spirit of A Christmas Carol.
“Every year we learn something new,” said Seanchai Lead Caledonia Skytower in reference to the event, “Something fresh from the text, and something new in how we present it. Our vision has always been to guide our audiences ‘in the steps of Ebenezer Scrooge’ using Dickens words framed by a themed environment, like walking through a live picture book.”
The 2017 Edition will include multiple presentations of A Christmas Carol in a variety of adaptations, in sections and in its entirety, and at different times to make the live readings accessible to residents from different parts of the globe. Other works from within the author’s vast canon are featured in the weeks leading up to “Carol Week” (Monday December 11th, through to Sunday December 17th), which climaxes in a marathon “Big Read” presentation of A Christmas Carol performed by a relay team of Seanchai staff and storytelling friends, scheduled for Sunday, December 17th. There is also an interactive information centre on the times and work of Charles Dickens, designed by the Community Virtual Library.
In 1843 Charles Dickens prefaced his about-to-be classic tale with these words: “I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.” He began the novella in October, completed it in less than six weeks. It went on to become the most successful book of the 1843 holiday season, selling six thousand copies by Christmas and continuing to be popular into the new year.
The Dickens Project SL is free to attend and explore. The twice daily readings are designed to help reach as wide an SL audience as possible, and will be presented by different volunteers, each giving his or her interpretation of the story and the characters, and visitors are welcome to attend as many readings as they wish.
For full details of the schedule of events for The Dickens Project, please refer to the Seanchai Library blog. In the meantime, I’m reproducing the outlines summary as it stood at the time of writing this preview.
- Saturday, November 25th: Opening Day.
- Sunday, November 26th:
- 13:00 – Tea Time with Charles Dickens.
- 14:00-16:00 – Dancing in “Christmas Past” with DJ Dano Bookmite.
- Friday, December 1st, 20:00: Guerilla Burlesque Show in Dickens Square*
- Sunday December 3rd:
- 11:00 – Wald Schridde Live at the Docks – Sea Shanties.
- 12:00 – ACRL Virtual World Interest Group Tour.
- 13:00 – Tea Time with Charles Dickens.
- 14:00-16:00 – Dancing in “Christmas Present” with DJ Dano Bookmite.
- Tuesday, December 5th, 12:00 noon – Russell Eponym – Music Poetry, and Stories.
- Friday, December 8th:
- 09:00 – The NonProfit Commons Group Tour of the Dickens Resource Centre.
- 20:00 – Guerilla Burlesque Show in Dickens Square*.
- Sunday, December 10th, 13:00: Tea Time with Charles Dickens.
Carol Week, December 11th-17th
- Monday, December 11th, 14:00 and 19:00: Stave One: Marley’s Ghost.
- Tuesday, December 12th, 14:00 and 19:00: Stave Two: The First of Three Ghosts.
- Wednesday, December 13th, 14:00 and 19:00: Stave Three: The Second of Three Ghosts.
- Thursday, December 14th, 14:00 and 19:00: Stave Four: The Last of the Spirits.
- Friday, December 15th:
- 15:00 – 90 Minute A Christmas Carol
- 19:00 – Misfit Dance & Performance Art*
- Saturday, December 16th:
- 12:00 Noon – Misfit Dance & Performance Art*
- 14:00-16:00 – Fezziwig’s Ball in “Christmas Past” With DJ Dano Bookmite.
- Sunday, December 17th:
- 11:00 – Wald Schridde live in Dickens Square.
- 12:00-15:30 – The Big Read in Dickens Square.
- Wednesday, December 20th, 19:00: Community Virtual Library Tour
- Friday, December 22nd, 12:00 Noon: 90 Minute A Christmas Carol Story Tour
- Thursday, December 30th – CLOSING DAY:
- 13:00 – Josie Anderton, LIVE
- 14:00-16:00 – The Last Dance with DJ Gabrielle Riel
- 20:00 – Guerilla Burlesque Show in Dickens Square*
* For these large stage performances, please arrive early to grab a seat and let your cache load. Music will be playing for your enjoyment during these pre-show times.