Previewing The Dickens Project 2019 in Second Life

The Dickens Project 2019: the Museum of Dickens Projects Past, the Dickens Library and the Listening Room

The 2019 edition of The Dickens Project formally opens its doors on Sunday, December 1st, 2019, ready to offer a month long celebration of the Christmas / holiday season and the life and works of Charles Dickens in Victorian England. Centred upon a series of reading of what is perhaps his most popular novel – and one which still resonates with meaning today – A Christmas Carol, the Dickens Project present a full region of events and immersive activities for visitors to enjoy.

To summarise the Project, one could bullet-point it as including:

  • Over 60 hours of live music, spoken word, dance events and performances.
  • Self-selectable interactive elements, including:
    • The “Urchins in Dickens’ London” role-play/game/experience, and opportunities for both RP and Non-RP guests.
    • The Story Path: an audio-assisted walk through the Project and A Christmas Carol.
    • Tours of the region by carriage and balloon.
    • Free period costumes, so you can explore the region “in character”.
  • Dozens of performers, presenters, and special guests including Patch Linden himself.
  • Educational and interpretive content to encourage questions like “What was Tiny Tim suffering from anyway?”

As is traditional with the Project, the region is broadly set out as a set of interconnected area reflecting the various parts of A Christmas Carol: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Yet to Come and The End of It All. Each area offers various points of interest and activities, some of which I’ve highlighted below. To help you find your way around, this year’s event includes a map of locations, which I’ve reproduced here.

The Dickens Project Map – click for full size, if required

The Dickens Project Highlights

Region Tours: Take a 20-25 minutes tour of the region via horse and carriage or hot air balloon.

Bay Rum Royal of Canterwell, the stylish horse and carriage tour supplied by Elite Equestrian returns to The Dickens Project for its 3rd year. Offering a 25-minute double loop tour of the region for up to four people at a time, regular stopping points on the route allowing riders to hop on or off as she waits. She may even also offer the occasional gift or give and advice and information about the locations as you pass them.

Tour the region by carriage with Bay Rum Royal of Canterwell

The Hot Air Balloon allows you to explore the region for the air, and includes a special ascent to The Opera House, the region’s skybox events area.

Of course, you can also walk through the streets and alleys of region, or if you prefer you can enjoy a self-guided pony-ride, courtesy of Merrylegs the Shetland Pony. Provided by Elite Equestrian, he can generally be found in their stables in the region, unless someone is riding him. Just sit on him, turn off your avatar’s AO, and use the normal movement keys as if walking. Please return him to the stables at the end of your ride!

The Story Path Voices Audio Tour: collect your free HUD from the kiosk at the landing point and ADD it (it will wear invisibly and operate automatically), then follow the Story Path markers through the region (including into and out of some of the buildings) at normal walking pace to hear over 40 selected voice clips from A Christmas Carol, as well as music and sound effects as you step over the markers.

The Story Path kiosk and one of the route markers (l); a story plinth note card giver (r)

Hearing and Reading A Christmas Carol: drop in at the Dickens Reading Room, sink into a comfortable armchair, turn on the audio stream and hear A Christmas Carol read by the storytellers of Seanchai Library and their friends any time you like. Or if you prefer, look out for the plinths set out within the various parts of the region and touch them to collect parts of the story on note card.

Role-play with the Urchins’ In Dickens London or free-form: Created by Aoife Lorefield, a Dickens Project co-creator Urchins In Dickens’ London will be available throughout The Dickens Project 2019 run. Residents of all ages are welcome to participate. Look for the Urchin Information kiosk and click on the poster offering the game HUD. Inside the package, you’ll find instructions on how to get started. Also check the Urchins in Dickens’ London web page.

Charles Dickens was ever a champion of children, writing stories about those who were poor and unprotected,” says Lorefield, “His child characters are often triumphant, finding ways to build lives of purpose and sometimes even happiness in a difficult time.

– Aoife Lorefield on Urchins In Dickens’ London

The Dickens Project 2019

For those who fancy free-form role-play as a character from Victorian London (you don’t have to be a specific character from A Christmas Carol or any other Dickens novel), then check-out The Dickens Project role-play page and jump over to the region and grab a free period outfit (or just use one of your own!).

The Dickens Resource Centre and Dickens Library, presented by the Community Virtual Library (CVL): the Dickens Resource Centre features research exhibits on Charles Dickens and elements of his historical era created by CVL volunteers, many of whom are professional librarians or information technology specialists. It will also be the site of the San Jose State University VCARA School’s Dickens Read Along, and numerous tours by educational interest groups from across Second life.

The Dickens Library focuses on the canon of Charles Dickens, and connecting guests with the scope of his work: including all 15 novels, five novellas, and connections to sources for the hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles. The Dickens Library makes the connection to an entire world of literature for guests.

Find out more about both on the Seanchai Library web site.

Events and entertainment: throughout the month, The Dickens Project will feature dance, music, and theatre, both on the ground and up in the Opera House overhead. Once again, Idle Rogue Productions and Misfit Dance & Performance Art will be presenting performances, and the Project will again feature contributions from Ce Soir Arts, Radio Riel, and Innsmouth SL. Fantasy Faire Radio also joins in the events for the first time this year, broadcasting music from Dickens Square on December 18th, and presenting an encore performance of its radio drama The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (see Jekyll and Hyde in Second Life for more on this production).

The Dickens Project 2019: Inside the Opera House

And, of course, there will be the readings of A Christmas Carol, including the popular “Carol Week”, with a section of Dickens’ novella presented live each day in a tour of the sites on the region inspired by the story. Also, Saturday, December 21st will feature Fezziwig’s Ball, and the Christmas Week culminates in The Big Read on Sunday, December 22nd. starting at noon SLT, this will feature a relay-style reading of A Christmas Carol involving 9-12 voices.

Full details of all events can be found in The Dickens Project calendar, below. All times SLT.

So, get set for another Dickens of a Christmas in Second Life!

SLurl and Links