Join us as we revisit each year of this incredible journey, who knows where 2018 will take us!
2011 - and so it begins
What started out as a simple idea to hold a reading in Laurie’s living room in Harlem suddenly bloomed into two humble and well received shows at the Abingdon Theatre, with beloved actor Austin Pendleton as our Scrooge. Nerves, excitement, fear; we felt it all. But it was nothing short of an incredible success, and the start of something truly special.
2011 also brought with it our first pre-show lobby festival with live music and food; a true night of celebration, and coming together in hope and new beginnings. We were also honored to bring our Dickens’ Everyone's Carol Education Unit entitled "Your Stories Matter" to Harlem.
2012 - Brooklyn
=Our 2nd year found us going from strength to strength. In 2012 we performed three shows at the Irondale Centre, Brooklyn. Each show featured a multi-media art exhibition entitled "Shadows Will Guide Me" which brought together artists from a wide range of disciplines, all of whom used their art to explore and exhibit different themes and issues raised in A Christmas Carol. The exhibition was part of our front-of-house pre-show festival which featured bell ringers, live music, murals, community tables and even a fortune teller! Local foods were sponsored by Nussabaum and Wu, and we were honoured to be joined by Amerikids, Dickens Fellowship Worldwide, New York Opera and local artists; some of whom were curated from the streets and subways of New York, which all threaded through the theme of "Dickens and the Streets". Our cast and crew were growing, and over 50 volunteers and interns were involved in making the run a huge success. The beloved subway busker James Graseck also joined the cast. Alongside the show and festival, we once again brought our education unit entitled "Your Stories Matter" to New York, this time to the Sunset Park Elementary, Brooklyn where we contracted 9 teaching artists and reached over 100 children with no formal arts programming. The students' interdisciplinary Dickens’ projects were also featured in our lobby as part of the festival. We were able to donate 50 tickets to local homeless shelters in Brooklyn in collaboration with the New York Public Library. We developed partnerships with the Morgan Library & Museum for both our social media and ticket sales, and also participated in talkbacks with the Morgan, the New York Public Library Dickens Collections, and the Dickens Fellowship, NYC.
2013 - 3rd time's a charm
2013 brought with it the incredible opportunity to take to Dickens' home country. The Underwood Foundation made is possible to travel to London for development and initiating partnerships that continue to this day. This also marked the first year that we brought our Dickens education unit to England, to the Gad's Hill School, Gravesend where we connected children from the UK to children in America through our pen pal system as part of "Your Stories Matter". Back in America, our partnership with Amerikids continued and we received sponsorship from Macy's to further develop the education programing. We brought "Your Stories Matter" to PS111 in Hell's Kitchen, employing 10 teaching artists and featuring the students' projects in our pre-show lobby festival. That year we performed at the New York Society Library as well as three sold-out shows at the Abingdon Theatre Company. Talkbacks were once again held, this time with Isaac Gerwits of the New York Public Library Dickens Berg Collection, and the Dickens Fellowship, NYC. Our Front of House pre-show festival was by the DIckens Fellowship, with music, food, local artist performances, community tables, and the continued theme of "Dickens and the Streets".
We were awarded the Michelle Obama award for our show's humanities and arts work with Dickens, received a grant from the Underwood Foundation to create a global documentary about Dickens, and his Christmas Carol entitled "Chasing Charles Dickens". Laurie Strickland's article entitled "Transatlantic Impressions" was also included in the Winter 2013 edition of The Dickensian, published by the Dickens Fellowship.
2014 - over the pond
2014 marked our first performances in the UK, beginning at the Athropologie Flagship store, London where the show's merchandise was featured and sold, and Everyone's Carol took over the store's display windows. Next on to perform at the Porterhouse Brewing Company, London, which stands on the ground of Warren’s Blacking Factory, where Dickens worked as a child. The following evening (Christmas Eve no less!) marked the first time an American cast had performed at the Charles Dickens Museum, the only surviving home of Charles Dickens. That night the museum opened its doors to over 10,000 visitors, creating a truly immersive experience with over 50 artists and musicians involved from across cultures. Our front of house lobby curation continued, and on the same night we took it to Hyde Park, London, where Dickens walked while composing the Carol, for a midnight reading in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and the Everyone's Carol education unit. It was a magical experience, with food, community tables, and buskers invited to play in the park as we experienced the Dickens festival by candlelight.
The 4th year of the Dickens education unit, "Your Stories Matter" was once again held in New York and London, for PS111 at the Players Club Gramercy, New York and the Ealing children's shelter in London in partnership with Hestia. In total, we employed over 15 teaching artists and we once again connected the children from both continents, featuring their projects in each country and on all our social media.
2015 - keeping it in the family
In 2015, we were honored to have Lucinda Dickens Hawksley join the cast of Everyone's Carol. That year we performed at the Players Club and once again we brought our pre-show Dickens festival to New York, featuring music, food and artists. The event was sponsored by the Gehring Foundation and the Players Club Gramercy Foundation. That year, the theme of 'Dickens and memory' anchored the Front of House Art Curation. Lucinda joined the cast in performance as well as special talks about Dickens and the history of A Christmas Carol. Pre-and post-show talkbacks were also held at the Players Club. The Macy's sponsored Dickens education unit was once again brought to PS111 and received further sponsorship from the Gehring Foundation and the Dickens Fellowship Worldwide. For the second time, the education unit was brought to the Gad's Hill School, London. The education unit expanded into a 'Dickens Day and Dickens walk' for parents and children of PS111 to the special Dickens collection at the New York Public Library Berg Collection. In total over 150 children were impacted, each receiving a gift copy of the Carol. 2015 also marked Everyone's Carol's global reach extending with the awarding of a Fellowship for Development at the La Muse Writers and Artists Retreat, France.
2016 - europe, here we come!
The Fellowship and Grant for Development awarded to Everyone's Carol in 2015 at the La Muse Writers and Artists Retreat, France continued into the new year. 2016 also brought with it an invitation for show creators Laurie Strickland and Jamie Bullins to attend as guest artists to the Dickens Society Symposium in Reykjavik, Iceland in July. The Symposium was entitled "Adapting Dickens: His Carol and its Enduring Global impact: A Personal Look Inside the Journey of Adapting A Christmas Carol for the Time We Live In” and Laurie was invited to present one of her papers to guests. The show was also featured in the Winter 2016/17 edition of The Convent Gardener, in the article “Charles Dickens: Let There Be Hope”, by Laurie and Jamie. That Christmas, the show performed in New York once more, at St Mark's Church in the Bowery, with Austin Pendleton as Scrooge and welcoming Arthur French as Jacob Marley. Once again, the front of house lobby festival was featured and the Dickens education unit was brought to the International Refugee Centre, in collaboration with St Mark's, and sponsored by the Gehring Foundation.
2017 - new york, new york
This year we have been asked to perform at The Morgan Library & Musuem, in the very place that the original, handwritten manuscript of the Carol is kept. It is an unbelievable honour, as within those walls the idea of Everyone's Carol started to take root. Once again our front-of-house festival will take place prior to the performance, with readings and works from some incredible artists. We have once again received Macy's sponsorship both for the show and the education unit which we will be taking back to PS111 and various refugee shelters. 2017 also sees us return to St Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery for a benefit reading.
Tickets can be found here.