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Charles Dickens' great-great grandson to perform in Bexley

PUBLISHED: 14:45 25 October 2010

Gerald Dickens

Gerald Dickens

Archant

Charles Dickens' great-great grandson will be performing scenes from the author's classics in a Grade I listed country house.

Gerald Dickens will be bringing the characters and words of Charles Dickens to life at Hall Place in Bourne Place, Bexley, on Thursday, November 4, at 7pm.

The actor will be reading scenes from A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, accompanied on piano by Elizabeth Hayes.

After the interval, Dickens will perform a reading from Dr Marigold, which Charles Dickens included in his tours.

The actor first started performing his great-grandfather’s works in 1993 when he was invited to commemorate 150 years of A Christmas Carol, by recreating one of Charles’ own public readings.

He said: “Throughout my school years I fended off questions about Charles Dickens but still wasn’t really interested. For ‘O’ Level I studied Oliver Twist and didn’t even finish reading it. I even quoted lyrics from Lionel Bart’s musical, rather than refer to the original text.

“It was another family trip that finally made me realise what a fantastic storyteller Charles Dickens was. In the early 80s the Royal Shakespeare Company mounted a mammoth eight-hour adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby and the Dickens family were invited to watch. It was one of the most memorable shows I’d ever seen and suddenly I realised that the works of Charles Dickens were theatrical, bold, fun, tragic, terrifying, uplifting and so much more. I loved it.

“My love had always been theatre, ever since I was cast in a school nativity play. I was at home on the stage and made sure I was involved in every school or local play that was being staged. If I couldn’t act in it, I’d be backstage, or selling programmes, or sweeping the stage: anything to be part of the theatrical life.”

Hall Place was built in 1537 for Sir John Champneys, a wealthy merchant and former Lord Mayor of London. The house, where admission is free, was re-opened in 2007 after an extensive restoration project.

The £12 ticket price for the event includes a glass of wine or juice. For more information and to book tickets visit www.hallplace.com/events/talks/gerald_dickens.html or call 01322 621238.

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