A Dickens of an art display in Second Life

The Dickens Project: Invitational Art Show – CybleMoon and Silas Merlin

The Dickens Project 2020 Edition enters Christmas week with two art exhibitions for visitors to appreciate. Each is located in a different part of the Project’s Victorian townscape, offering those who visit the opportunity to explore the streets and discover more of what the Project has to offer this year.

Located in the church sitting to one side of Dickens Square, the Project’s main landing point, is the Open Art Exhibition, featuring artists who accepted the Project’s invitation to display one or two pieces of art that have created on a Victorian Christmas / Dickensian theme.

The Dickens Project: Open Art Show – VanessaJane68 and Jezzamine2108

In  all, seven artists responded to the invitation, and between them they offer an engaging series of images on the themes. The artists are: Jessamine2108, VanessaJane66, Stevie Morane Basevi, Dawn Greymyst, Banshee Heartsong, Evelyn Held and Vita Theas.

Together their images capture the spirit of The  Dickens Project Past (e.g. Evelyn Held: A View From Dickens Harbour Lighthouse, Jessamine2108: Dickens Harbour), images with a decidedly Victorian feel (VanessaJane68 with Christmas Hall and Tower Lane; Dawn Greymyst: Holiday Preparation), and others with a clear Dickens influence (e.g. Vita Theas: Kids, Evelyn Held, Magic of Christmas Past).

The Dickens Project: The open Art Show – Evelyn Held

All of the pieces are evocative of the period they represent and the Dickens Project theme.

Off to the east side of the town, and between the clock tower and the harbour, sits a warehouse that is home to the Invitational Art Show. Open since the event started (the Open Art exhibition having opened its doors on Friday, December 18th), the participating artists for this exhibition comprise CyebelMoon, Iris Okiddo, Silas Merlin and … Yours Truly. Again, the overarching theme is of reflecting, Dickens, Victorian England and the Dickens project.

The Dickens Project: Invitational Art Show – CybeleMoon

Both Cybele and Iris offer evocative (as always!) pieces, that richly reflect these themes. Within Cybele’s pieces,  entitled Winter Solitudes are a set of marvellous captures of past Dickens Project scenes, beautifully processed such that each encompasses its own story that captures both the romance of Victorian Christmases, and the settings found through The Dickens Project.

Iris, meanwhile, presents her own take on A Christmas Carol, presenting eight images  in which she takes on the role of Ebeniris Scrooge and offers her interpretation of some of the damous scenes from the story. Thus we see her sitting miserly in her cold house, walking with the Ghost of Christmas Present, revisiting her lonely past, glimpsing a possible future, embracing a happier, brighter future (with, I think I’m correct in saying, Skippy Beresford getting a co-starring role), and more; all of the images again richly presented for our enjoyment.

The Dickens Project: Invitational Art Show – Iris Okiddo

Silas offers sculptures both indirectly and directly connected to the Victorian / Dickensian era, including barefooted street urchins, Oliver Twist, and a bust of Charles Babbage. For my part, I’ve offered a series looking back over The Dickens Project builds between 2015 and 2020.

Two engaging exhibitions in a setting that offers much to see and do – see my preview of this year’s Edition of the Project for more on the event.

The Dickens Project: Invitational Arts show – Silas Merlin

Links and SLurls

Note that The Dickens Project regions are rated Moderate. Note that SLurls will be available for use from 07:00 SLT on Friday, December 4th.

The Dickens Project 2020: Carol Week in Second Life

The Dickens Project 2020

This week sees events at The Dickens Project 2020 with Seanchai Library (read more about this year’s edition of the project here) reach the famous Carol Week, where Monday through Friday the entire tale of A Christmas Carol is told over successive days at times suitable for most audiences. And there’s a lot more going on throughout the week as well!

Remember to check the full calendar of events at the project.

Sunday, December 13th, 13:00: The Ghost Flights of Christmas

In this unique adaptation by Luke Flywalker, the SL Hawks Aerobatic Team tell the story of Alexander Scrooge (descendant of the legendary Ebenezer) and his journey to regain his joy and love of life through the intercession of his deceased partner, Bill Farley, and thanks to the visits of three squads of ghost pilots.

The Tarmac – Dickens Project

Carol Week, December 14th-18th

All events take place at the Dickens Square Main Landing Point unless otherwise indicated.

  • Monday, December 14th, 14:00 and 19:00 – Stave One: Marley’s Ghost.
  • Tuesday, December 15th:
    • 14:00: Stave Two: the First of Three Spirits – Dickens Square Main Landing Point.
    • 15:00: SKATING PARTY! at the Skating Pond – north of Dickens Square Main Landing Point.
    • 17:00: ISTE VEN Tour – Camden Town Square – Library Row.
    • 19:00: Dickens the First of Three Spirits – Square Main Landing Point.
  • Wednesday, December 16th, 14:00 and 19:00 – Stave Three – The Second of Three Spirits.
  • Thursday, December 17th, 14:00 and 19:00 – Staves Four & Five – The Last of the Spirits & The End of It.
  • Friday, December 18th:
    • 11:00: Sultan the Pit Pony Companion Give-Away at the Pony Ride Pavilion just North of Dickens Square.
    • 13:45: the WOOTMAS cheer of the Raglan Shire Carollers – Dickens Square Main Landing Point.
    • 14:00-16:00: Celebrating the Open Art Show with English Christmas Carols & DJ Gabrielle Riel -Dickens Square Main Landing Point.
    • 18:30: Misfit Dance & Performance Art Presents A Very Misfit ChristmasMisfit Theatre – Dickens Harbour.

Saturday, December 19th

Sunday, December 20th

  • 11:00: Wald Schridde Live – Dickens Square Main Landing Point.
  • 12:00-15:30 – THE BIG READ – all five staves of A Christmas Carol in a single sitting – Dickens Square Main Landing Point.

Previewing The Dickens Project 2020

The Dickens Project 2020

The Dickens Project, a seasonal celebration of the life, times and work of Charles Dickens with a focus on what is perhaps his most famous story, A Christmas Carol, officially opens to the public on Friday, December 4th 2020.

An annual event since 2012 (and which grew out of a special presentation made in 2008), the Dickens Project offers an annual mix of reading, storytelling, music, events and activities, each year introducing something new to the mix to add a little more magic for visitors to enjoy – and 2020 is no exception.

Organised by Seanchai Library, The Dickens Project presents visitors with an immersive environment evocative of Victorian England in Dickens’ time and which is both home to settings from A Christmas Carol and stage upon which a range of events and activities take place throughout the Project’s month-long run. This year, as one of the elements, a second region is added to be mix, offering visitors even more to explore and discover.

Every year The Dickens Project intentionally blends the familiar features of previous years with new things waiting to be discovered. It helps our loyal visitors feel like they are coming home, gets them excited about what’s new, and encourages them to share the experience with their friends. That’s our goal. Each year the Dickens Project is just a little different. This year, with a second region, there is a lot that is fresh and new.

Caledonia Skytower, Seanchai Library

The Dickens Project 2020

The project’s programme of events runs on a weekly basis, with activities for each week announced via the project’s calendar page. However, highlights include:

  • Two scenic regions to explore and enjoy.
  • Over 60 hours of live music, spoken word, dance events and performances.
  • Opportunities for both RP and Non-RP guests.
  • Dozens of performers, presenters, and special guests including Patch Linden himself.
  • Educational and interpretive content featuring different aspects of Victorian life.
  • Horse rambler tour, rideable horses and carts, and a hot air balloon ride.
  • Idle Rogue Productions with a new edition of their Midnight Dinner show.
  • Misfit Dance & Performance Arts present A Very Misfit Christmas.
The “new for 2020 elements” include:
  • Two regions.
  • The Victorian Horse Experience & The Mine Interactive.
  • Virtuoso Performing Arts presents Beatrix Potter.
  • SL Hawks Aerobatics Ghost Flights of Christmas. – an air show based A Christmas Carol, to be performed over the waters of Dickens Harbour.
  • Invitational and Open Art Shows.

The Dickens Project is also very much a community event, and in respect of this, the 2020 Edition will include Radio Riel, and Innsmouth SL, whilst The Community Virtual Library will feature aspects of Victorian life from clothing, workers conditions, Dickens in Spanish, to The London Exhibition, in a dedicated information district.

For those wishing to explore more of Victorian life, there are the interactive experiences The Horse in Victorian London and The Mine, with the latter including a ride through a mine with Sultan the pit pony and his coal carts – “Sultan” being the name of one of the last pit ponies in Wales.

“Sultan” the pit pony – The Dickens Project 2020

Of course, no edition of the The Dickens Project would be complete without Carol Week, which sees a part of A Christmas Carol read each day in a “story tour” that visits the corresponding parts of the main Project region that have been inspired by those same parts of the story. This week of readings culminates in a further Project tradition, The Big Read, a relay-style reading of all of Dickens’ novella, featuring the voices of up to 12 storytellers. This year taking place on Sunday, December 20th, at noon (SLT), The Big Read follows the equally popular Fezziwig’s Ball, which for 2020 will take place in the Opera House on Saturday, December 19th.

A further new aspect to this year’s Edition are the special art shows. the first of these, the Open Art Show is currently accepting requests to participate from Second Life artists, and you can read more about this in The Dickens Project 2020: call for artists, with applications being accepted through until December 13th.

The second art event – the Invitational Show – opens on Saturday, December 5th, at 14:00 SLT, and features the 2D and 3D art of CybeleMoon, Iris Okiddo and Silas Merlin, who present images and sculptures evocative of the Victorian era and its winters, and a small collection from yours truly that recalls past Dickens Project events.

The Dickens Project 2020 Edition: Invitational Art Show

To keep up-to-date on the Project and its daily events, be sure to keep an eye on the Seanchai Library website and the Dickens Project calendar.

About Seanchai Library

Seanchai Library (pronounced Shawn-a-kee, which means “Storyteller” in Irish Gaelic.) was founded in March of 2008 in Second Life. The program remains dedicated to promoting the power of stories to transform and inspire through live voice presentations: “We bring stories of all kinds to life, in Second Life and other virtual worlds.”

In presenting The Dickens Project 2020 Edition, Seanchai Library acknowledge the support and sponsorship of Linden Lab and the particular support of Patch Linden and the Land Team.

Links and SLurls

Note that The Dickens Project regions are rated Moderate. Note that SLurls will be available for use from 07:00 SLT on Friday, December 4th.

The Dickens Project 2020: call for artists

The Dickens Project 2020

Since 2012, The Dickens Project, organised and run by Caledonia Skytower and the Seanchai Library team, has presented an end-of-year seasonal celebration the life and works of Charles Dickens.

Running throughout December, the Project presents a range of events and activities that include live readings, music, dancing and more, all of which takes place in a special Victorian themed region and culminates in a week of readings of one of the most popular of Dickens’ stories A Christmas Carol. It’s an event that now attracts some 3,000 unique visitors annually, with some 44% of those visiting in 2019 returning more than once to explore the region and participate in activities.

This year, The Dickens Project will be opening its doors to the pubic on Friday, December 4th, and I’ll have a special preview later in the week. However, ahead of the opening, the Project is presenting the opportunity for Second Life artists and photographers to particulate in the first ever Dickens Project (non-juried) Art Show.

Specifically, artists are invited to submit up to two pieces of art that include one or more of the following:

  • Scenes taken at,or inspired by, The Dickens Project over the years.
  • Scenes depicting a Victorian Christmas.
  • Scenes of natural winter beauty.

In addition, the Project has limited space for suitable 3D pieces of art that can form a part of the show.

Note that submitted pieces cannot be offered for sale, but all artists will have to opportunity to provide information about themselves, their art and where it might be seen / purchased.

Exhibition Dates

  • Applications: Tuesday, December 1st through Sunday, December 13th inclusive.
  • Set-up: December 14th / 15th.
  • Exhibition opens: Wednesday, December 16th.
  • Opening celebration: 14:00-16:00 SLT, Friday, December 18th, with DJ Gabrielle Riel, broadcasting live on Radio Riel Main Stream.
  • Exhibition closes: Sunday, January 3rd, 2021.

How To Apply

Applications should be made via note card to Willow Moonfire (Starlight Despres). Please include the following information:

  • Your full SL  user name (not your Display Name).
  • Your time zone or best Second Life times to contact you.
  • One of the following:
    • A low-resolution thumbnail “preview” of the piece(s) you wish to submit.
    • An on-line link to where the image(s) or similar samples of your work might be viewed (e.g. Flickr).
  • A brief description of your art & biographical notes on yourself.
  • If relevant,links to any website, Flickr stream or other on-line portfolio you use and any SLurl to your in-world studio / gallery.

Please note that display space is limited, and if the event is over-subscribed, the number of artists able to participate may be capped.

3D artists wishing to participate in the Art Show should contact Willow Moonfire (Starlight Despres), who will also deal with general enquiries on the Show.

The Dickens Project 2019: Carol Week in Second Life

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

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and this week’s events are all held at The Dickens Project, where Monday through Friday form Carol Week, in which the entire tale of A Christmas Carol is told over successive days at times suitable for most audiences.. What’s more, this year presents a special additional presentation of two parts of the tale featuring a very special guest!

Sunday, December 15th

  • 11:30 – Wald Schridde, Live from Dickens Square:  Wald plays a selection of folks songs and music from the British Isles that could have been familiar to those in Dickens’ time.
  • 13:00 – Tea-time with Charles Dickens in Dickens Square: VT Torvalar, Da5id Abbot, and Caledonia Skytower present selections from Little Dorrit, Oliver Twist and the short story The Poor Relation.
  • 14:00-16:00 Fantasy Faire Radio Presents Rock from Dickens Square: DJ Elrik Merlin spins classic rock-n-roll from both sides of the Atlantic.

Carol Week, December 16th-20th

  • Monday, December 16th – Stave One: Marley’s Ghost:
    • 14:00: VT Torvalar, Da5id Abbot, and Caledonia Skytower.
    • 19:00: Aoife Lorefield, Corwyn Allen, and Kayden Oconnell.
  • Tuesday, December 17th –Stave Two – The First of Three Spirits:
    • 14:00: Dubhna Rhiadra, Corwyn Allen, and Faerie Maven-Pralou.
    • 19:00: Corwyn Allen, Gloriana Maertens, and Caledonia Skytower.
  • Wednesday, December 18th: Stave Three – The Second of Three Spirits:

    • 14:00: Aoife Lorefield, Da5id Abbot, and Dubhna Rhiadra.
    • 19:00: Kayden Oconnell, Gloriana Maertens, and Caledonia Skytower.
  • Thursday, December 19th: Staves Four & Five – The Last of the Spirits & The End of It:

    • 14:00: Aoife Lorefield, Da5id Abbot, and Dubhna Rhiadra.
    • 15:00: Kayden Oconnell, Gloriana Maertens, and Caledonia Skytower.
  • Friday, December 20th: Special Encore  of The Last of the Spirits & The End of It:
    • 12:45: the WOOTMAS cheer of the Raglan Shire Carollers.
    • 13:00: Aoife Lorefield, Caledonia Skytower, and special guest Patch Linden.
    • 18:30: Misfit Dance & Performance Arts SL present A Very Misfit Christmas.

Saturday, December 21st

  • 10:00: The Community Virtual Library hosts a Resource Centre tour for The Science Circle.
  • 11:00: Misfit Dance & Performance Arts SL present A Very Misfit Christmas.
  • 13:45: The WOOTMAS cheer of the Raglan Shire Carollers at the Opera House.
  • 14:00-16:00: Fezziwig’s Ball at the Opera House with DJ Dano Bookmite.

Sunday, December 22nd

  • 11:00: Wald Schridde Live at The Dickens Project.
  • 12:00-15:30 – THE BIG READ – all five staves of A Christmas Carol in a single sitting!

Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

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