2018 Season 26
John D. Huston Presents A Christmas Carol
There are three matinée performances this year. The dates for these are indicated in that very Victorian colour, mauve. (December 9, 22 & 23)
I am very happy to report that I will be appearing with Ian Bell and friends in Guelph on Monday December 3rd. When I heard Ian and the Vinyl Café Orchestra on the first Vinyl Café Christmas Special I knew I wanted that music that sound to accompany Mr. Dickens great story. It was melodious, spare, and beautiful. It rang down from a time before shopping malls and elevators taught us to screen out Christmas music. I knew Dickens original audience would have recognized it as the music of their Yuletide.
Since then I have had the pleasure of working with many of this countrys great folk/roots artists. Each of them has brought their music, their words and passion to set off the words and passion of Dickens great story: their carols magnify his Carol. All of Mr. Dickens Musical Guest(s) are listed below.
As always, I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information below but please do contact the venues to confirm times and prices. Also, in keeping with Dickens invocation to his audiences to imagine they were sitting around their home fireplace with friends listening as he performed the story, I often play small, intimate spaces, so its wise to book ahead.
November 21, 2018; Winnipeg, MB
The Bhigg House
Im happy to begin the Winnipeg portion of my 26th Canadian tour here in Mr. Dickens Winnipeg home base. This is my 16th year at the Bhigg House one of Winnipegs busier house concert venues. Tea, coffee and tasty homemade cookies are, as always available at the interval and a loyal and enthusiastic audience are on hand to greet Mr. Dickens on the Winnipeg leg of his tour.
November 22, 2018; Steinbach, MB
Jake Epp Public Library
Tickets $12.00 Available now.
My second visit to Steinbach just an hour out of Winnipeg. Im delighted to return to this friendly town whose active public library is hosting Mr. Dickens again. More from them below:
Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary. (Boris Pasternak)
Extraordinary is what we strive for; Jake Epp Library�s aim is to encourage literacy by bringing books to life for all ages. Now we have taken that quite literally by hosting a theatrical production based upon a classic piece of literature such as this and through this we hope to enrich many people�s literary as well as theatrical experiences.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
November 23, 2018; Winnipeg, MB
Station 8 Café
Tickets $10.00 (In advance)
My second year at this wonderfully homey venue located in a converted firehall. This neighbourhood centre flexibly hosts everyone from musicians to improv groups. The grilled cheese sandwiches are deservedly legendary and the welcome as warm as the fresh coffee. Facebook.com/Station8Cafe
November 24, 2018; Winnipeg, MB
House Concert, Crescentwood
My seventh time at this lovely home in Winnipegs historic Crescentwood district. This cozy venue offers lots of atmosphere, delicious interval refreshments and has, as all Victorian theatres had, a resident cat: or in this case, cats. Please contact the box office for tickets and directions.
November 25, 2018; La Ronge, SK
La Ronge United Church
Tickets $20.00 (Conexus Credit Union, La Ronge or the Visitor Center in Air Ronge.)
A freewill collection will be taken for the plethora of homemade refreshments available during intermission. (Im partial to the Nanaimo bars but really, its all delish!)
My sixth time in LA! One of my liveliest and loveliest audiences is here; the venue is very modern but Mr. Dickens gets a very warm Victorian welcome; the audience laughs, weeps and dives into the story as though they were hearing it for the first time. The energy sweeps me along and I cant help but give a performance that leaves us all exhilarated and happy. Bonus: snowfall is pretty much guaranteed. Double bonus: theres a carol singalong during the show.
November 27December 1, 2018; Saskatoon, SK
Tickets: $25.00 (Advance purchase required)
Come experience a Victorian House Concert in a Victorian home! My 22nd year in Saskatoon, my eigth (I think) at The Marr Residence, Saskatoons oldest house still on its original site (1884). Now operating as a museum The Marr will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas. This cozy evening with Mr. Dickens features tea, coffee, cider and cookies at the interval. Keep your eyes peeled for possible sightings of the resident ghost. Space is extremely limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.
December 3, 2018; Guelph, ON
The Church of the Apostles (St James & St Matthias), AKA St James the Apostle Anglican church
Tickets (general admission)
MUSICAL GUESTS: Ian Bell, Rick Avery, Judy Greenhill,
When I heard the very first Vinyl Café Christmas Special it featured Ian Bell and others singing Victorianera carols. I knew right then I wanted to perform Dickens Christmas Carol with them. Two decades later weve performed together a few times, most recently in Guelph at St. James Anglican Church. Im very happy to return again to this beautiful gothic revival church with its excellent acoustics.
St. James, the newest of the 7 old stone churches in Guelph, was completed in 1892. In the past couple of years it has taken advantage of its marvellous acoustics and mounted several fundraising concerts including this is one. The church is fully accessible from the parking lot with an elevator to the nave and Parish hall and an accessible washroom downstairs.
The music will be provided by members of the Vinyl Café Orchestra. There will be opportunities to carol along to a great selection of genuine Victorian Christmas songs.
Intermission refreshments will be available in the church hall.
December 5, 2018; Toronto, ON
College United Church
MUSICAL GUESTS: Members of the Choir
This is their second annual Christmas Carol, a fund raiser for the ongoing musical program of the church. Intermission will feature mulled wine, homemade Victorian scones with clotted cream and fresh jam (among others delectables). Interludes will feature Christmas Carol singing and a unique pastors surprise. Those who attend in Victorian attire will be allowed admission at the concession price. The church is in a modern condo building and so it is entirely accessible (no ramps or steps). While we come from many walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, on December 5th, we are one in our love of Charles Dickens.
December 7, 2018; Prescott, ON
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
Box Office: (613) 9255788; Tuesday to Thursday, 10:00am to 3:00pm
MUSICAL GUESTS: The choir of St. Lawrence Academy
Dickens was a huge fan of the works of William Shakespeare. His writings are replete with quotations and references to the plays and Dickens himself performed in amateur productions of them.
Dickens early performances of The Carol were benefits for various charities and institutions. So, its a great pleasure for me to bring Mr. Dickens to Shakespeare as a benefit performance for The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. Visit them online at www.stlawrenceshakespearefestival.ca.
The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival located near Prescott puts on fully professional productions of the Bard and others every summer. Now entering its 17th season and working with their community, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival aims to provide diverse audiences with an inspirational, accessible theatrical experience of the highest professional standard.
Taking place in the summer the Festival performs outdoors. Mr. Dickens will be playing inside Prescotts beautiful St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. First erected in Prescott in 1822 and after the railway, a windstorm and a fire destroyed a few versions of the church, the current building has remained strong since 1893.
December 8, 2018; Toronto, ON
MUSICAL GUEST: The MadriGALS
This is my 6th time at Acoustic Harvest the producers for many years of a renowned season of folk music in east Toronto. This year finds them in a NEW VENUE, (see address above).
As usual with my Toronto appearances, The MadriGALS will perform carols from the MiddleAges to Dickenss day and provide musical underscoring during the performance. Weve been performing together for over a decade and a half. This is the production that the National Post called powerful one man theatre in the hands of a master storyteller. (1999)
Lillian Wauthier, Acoustic Harvests producer, is a good friend to Mr. Dickens and The MadriGALS. Ive reprinted her description of the evening below. Thanks Lillian.
Please join us as we call forth the Christmas spirit in our special December offering to you. I have seen John Hustons brilliant, engaging and riveting production several times over the years and it continues to captivate and take audiences on a thrilling historical journey into the past; its sheer magic! The MadriGALS will provide their sweet harmony accompaniment and seasonal songs.
December 9, 2018; London, ON
MUSICAL GUEST: The Wassail Choir
My sixth year in London, albeit not Dickens London. Its a rare treat for me to perform in an authentic Victorian theatre and the Aeolian Hall gloriously fits the bill; exactly the sort of space Dickens knew both in England and America. I was struck by the Halls wonderful acoustics especially when Mr. Dickens musical guests, Londons Wassail Choir, performed. This multivoice group perform Dickensian era carols in period costume changing their repertoire annually. The carols change every year & I am always moved and delighted by their performance. The Wassail Choir, the timeless story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, and the Aeolian Halls intimate acoustics make this event a magical, theatrical experience.
December 12, 2018; Toronto, ON
Red Sandcastle Theatre
MUSICAL GUEST: The MadriGALS
My fifth year in this snug, and very busy, small theatre space in Torontos Leslieville. And as usual with my Toronto appearances The GALS will perform carols from the Middle Ages to Dickens day and provide musical underscoring during the performance. Weve been performing together for over a decade and a half. This is the production that the National Post called powerful one man theatre in the hands of a master storyteller. (1999).
There are many good small eateries near the theatre so come down early for dinner.
December 15, 2018; Burnstown, ON
Neat Coffee Shop
Tickets: $15.00 Show Only
MUSICAL GUEST: LMJ
My old friend Mike McCormick from the Arrogant Worms arranged this gig last year. Mike is also onethird of LMJ a trio of Ottawa area musicians whose Christmas album is a good mixture of music familiar and less so. Im delighted to perform with them at the Neat Coffee Shop. This Ottawa area establishment is celebrated for its wood fired pizza and coffee. Book for one of the two dinner sittings and give it a try.(Dickens lived in Genoa the year after he wrote, A Christmas Carol but his memoirs from this period, Pictures From Italy dont mention pizza. Too bad for him: Neats Pizza is very good.) We sold out last year so book early!
December 1623, 2018; Ottawa, ON
Tickets: (Prices include a $3.00 facility fee & HST)
Box Office (613) 2334523 or http://thegladstone.ca/a-christmas-carol/
MUSICAL GUESTS: Finest Kind; Susan Toman
Once again the Gladstone theatre, located near Ottawas historic Glebe neighbourhood is the end of the road for Mr. Dickens. Dickens wanted his audiences to imagine [they] were seated with friends as he performed for them, and the Gladstone is perfect for this.
Please note there is a slight change to the roster of musical guests this year. From December 17 19, I have the great privilege of appearing with Finest Kind one of Canadas foremost folk groups. They fill the venue with gloriously harmonized versions of Christmas carols sung in pubs, on street corners and in homes during the 19th century. The words to some may sound familiar but you wont have heard these lively, haunting, hummable tunes before. (Unless youre one of our many regulars or have bought the CD HERE, of course.) Theres even a chance to carol along.
For the four performances December 20 22 (matinée and evening on the 22nd), Susan Toman will be Mr Dickens musical guest. And when you come away after the performance, charmed by Ms. Tomans skill with the Celtic harp, and you will, you should hasten to her website at www.susantoman.com, where a selection of her recordings are available.
Musical guests for the opening and closing Sunday performances, December 16 & December 23 (matinée and evening on the 23rd) T.B.A.
A Christmas Carol Dates 2018