As you explore the Fair, watch for Mr. Dickens & characters from his novels throughout London ~ scenes from “A Christmas Carol” and other books may materialize at any time!
After Mr. Dickens introduces his characters and brings London to life through the magical Morning Tableau, the ebullient Mr. & Mrs. Fezziwig invite you to their holiday party at FEZZIWIG'S WAREHOUSE! Come join the dance as Bangers & Mash provide lively ballroom and English country dance music, with reels, jigs, polkas and waltzes. You might even see young Ebenezer Scrooge and his sweetheart Belle, or a visit from Her Majesty and the royal procession.
The Siamsa Scottish & Irish Dancers join the fun with lilting Highland tunes and stirring steps. When the musicians pause for a well-earned rest, visitors can join in a lively round of Victorian parlour games large and small.
The grand VICTORIA & ALBERT BIJOU MUSIC HALL in Jingles Gate provides visitors a wealth of entertainments from which to choose. Back by popular demand, the Music Hall Singers present a mischievous, musical introduction to Trial By Jury ~ a new comic opera from the brilliant, young satiric composers Gilbert and Sullivan. Especially for children (of all ages), the Stark Ravens Players present the riotous hijinks of a proper Pantomime and Harlequinade: Baron Munchausen and Fairy Mopsa Save Fairyland.
Her Majesty’s Royal Opera Gala presents two shows, the first in light operetta style and the second of grand opera classics. New this year, the Crummles Theatrical Company present a farce of murderous proportions with Sherlock Holmes and The Giant Rat of Sumatra, the greatest unwritten mystery of Holmes’ career! The scene changes at 5:30 to ‘Dickens After Dark’, when grown-ups will appreciate the more adult fare of the artistic, yet provocative Saucy French Postcard Tableaux Revue (18 and over only, please. Seating is limited; get your free tickets at the Telegraph Booth early in the day).
In the GREEN MAN INN in Bellringer's Row, London locals including the Pickwick Club can be found quaffing fine brews and holding forth with harmonious songs of the day. The illustrious Mr. Charles Dickens reads captivating passages from his books at posted times and even Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, stops by for tea.
At the FATHER CHRISTMAS STAGE in Tinsley Green, the Toy Parade arrives to herald a merry procession of delights, including Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and frabjous tales from the characters of Wonderland Story Time. Family fare continues as children are chosen to participate in the Stark Ravens’ Bold Tailor, and Rats in the Haggis stop by to musically enchant one and all. Sweet caroling rings out and Father Christmas himself magically appears! Young lads and lasses may join him for a holiday photo memento (no family portraits please).
Highlighting Victorians’ love of ghost stories at Christmas time, children are invited to engage in a spirited look at another side of Dickensia with Charles Dickens’ Haunted House. Across the way in Brick Lane, you’ll find the TRAVELING PICCOLO PUPPET PLAYERS, where children will delight at the illuminating antics of Mr. Punch and his mischievous friends.
Beyond Grenadier's Gate lie The London Docks, Thameside home to the PADDY WEST SCHOOL OF SEAMANSHIP and other nautical riffraff as well as the Congress of Wonders & Atrocities - possibly the worst sideshow in all of London. The Coventry Carolers pay a melodious call as they bring holiday cheer to all parts of London ~ even to the scurrilous denizens of Fagin’s Den and the sooty shenanigans of The Miracle Sweeps Climbing Boy Academie. Be sure to pay a visit to the London Constabulary at the Gaol, and look sharp that you don't "get your collar felt" (locked up)!
Around the corner from the Paddy West Stage, you can visit FLOCKMOCKER'S WORKSHOP, where Prof. Phineas J. Flockmocker III and his brilliant associates will confound you with his curious inventions, dubious facts, and total disregard for conventional science. You might even see Steam Man!
Over on Petticoat Lane stands THE ADVENTURERS CLUB where the ﬁnest & brightest Victorian minds come together. Meet luminaries like Benjamin Disraeli, Lewis Carroll, Ada Lovelace, Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelley, or Edgar Allan Poe. Learn proper British etiquette; explore science, military tactics, and literature; shiver at chilling tell-tale theatre; sketch at the Artists Salon; explore oddities & curiosities; and so very much more! For more details on each presentation, and special happenings offered each day, please see the Adventurers Club Open House Schedule and find a complete list of the Adventurers Club members at their Member Roster.
Continuing along to Cratchit's Yard you'll find the PENNYGAFF STAGE, where the Pickwick Club celebrates Christmas at Dingley Dell, and scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol come to life both on the Pennygaff Stage and in the streets of London. Witness the Ghosts of Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come, as they and the Cratchit Family help old miser Ebenezer Scrooge learn the true spirit of the season! And be sure not to miss the introduction of the Christmas Tree by His Royal Highness Prince Albert to Her Royal Majesty Queen Victoria and their family.
Also on the Pennygaff Stage you may behold thrilling jugglery, riotous antics, and other merry matters of supreme importance with the Trickish Matters of Jeremiah Johnston. Marvel at the buffoonery of London's most hilariously silly chimney sweep in The Adventures of Jim Chiminey, and be astonished at the The Death-Defying Sword-Swallowing of the Amazing Cyrus Pynn!
Just next door you'll find Prince Albert's CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBITION, where you can interact with innovative thinkers of the day including scientists, paleontologists, industrialists, inventors, engineers and artists. Demonstrations & participatory experiences occur throughout the day, including the First International Chess Tournament. Young artists and scientists are encouraged to attend!
Over on Nickelby Road you might pay a call at TAVISTOCK HOUSE: THE DICKENS FAMILY PARLOUR and visit with the Dickens family, characters from Mr. Dickens' novels, and visiting performers. Enjoy occasional readings from the illustrious author himself at posted times. Partake of festive parlour games, Christmas carols and sing-a-longs, and observe a working Victorian kitchen. Even Mr. Scrooge comes by to pay his respects during the holiday season!
Just across the street in Golden Square, music and dance from around the world grace the SILK ROAD STAGE, where you might hear caroling one moment, and see lively Irish, Middle Eastern, or Morris dancing the next. Enjoy a traditional mummers play with Mr. Brown's Mummers, join in English country dance with The Crown & Anchor Dancers, or traditional Irish Dancing with the Silk Road Ceilidh. Waltz and polka to the infectious rhythyms of The Bruno Band and enjoy exotic Middle Eastern Dance on certain days.
Down by the Thames in Ale House Alley, sounds of raucous merriment draw the venturesome soul to MAD SAL'S DOCKSIDE ALE HOUSE, where Pipe & Bowl Morris perform lusty traditional dances celebrating beer, flirting, and the pleasures of country life. The gentlemen of Brass Farthing lift a frothy good ale with their rollicking songs, and the ladies of The Gin Alley Sallys musically include you in their Society for the Appreciation of Libation and Spirits. And don't miss Mad Sal’s Dockside Music Hall, hosted by Mad Sal herself, and including our brassy bevy of high-kicking beauties from across the Channel, the wicked Le Cancan Bijou. At the end of the day, they invite you to join them at The East End After Hours 'oliday Hextravaganza!
CHARACTERS IN THE STREETS WHO YOU MAY MEET: A panoply of characters from the imagination of Mr. Dickens come to life in our Victorian London ~ Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts that haunt him, Bob Cratchit & Tiny Tim, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby and his Family, Oliver Twist & Nancy, mingling with chimney sweeps, musicians, carolers, music hall performers, saucy sailors and more. Over 800 characters and historical personages create living history all around you. Join us!