Great Expectations about the weekend of celebrations at The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury, next month to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens have been realised already.
Organiser Chris Eldon Lee emailed me this week to say that Friday night is completely sold out, 60 per cent of the Saturday night tickets have gone and there are already 80 people coming to the Sunday events.
It is great news that tickets have gone so well and so quickly, so if you want to come book your seats now.
Charles Dickens is believed to have stayed at least three times at the hotel in the mid 19th century, performed at the nearby Music Hall and most likely gave readings from his novels in The Lion’s Ballroom.
Actor Gerald Dickens, the great, great grandson of Charles, pictured below, will headline a weekend of celebrations in Shrewsbury’s famous coaching inn on Friday, February 3, Saturday, February 4 and Sunday, February 5, 2012.
He will perform two of his most popular one-man-shows about his great, great grandfather in The Ballroom over the weekend, just two days before the great man’s big day.
On Friday, February 3 at 8pm there is Mr Dickens is Coming, which is a light-hearted and varied look at the life and character of Charles Dickens. Gerald includes in the play scenes from the great author’s works, diary extracts and observations from those who knew and worked with him.
On Saturday, February 4 at 8pm, programme pictured below, it’s Sikes and Nancy, which is Victorian theatre at its most dramatic. Most of Charles’ readings were safe, well-known and often comic passages from his novels, but in 1869 he introduced Sikes and Nancy to his repertoire.
When Dickens performed what he called The Murder, he judged the success of the evening by the number of ladies who had fainted with horror. Today it has lost none of its power.
Both performances will be followed by Gerald reading excerpts from A Christmas Carol on the very stage Charles read from two centuries ago!
Tickets for the Saturday evening performances are £8.50 each.
On Sunday, February 5 it is Christmas Carol Day, programme pictured below, which recalls the celebrated George C. Scott’s film of A Christmas Carol which was shot in Shrewsbury in 1984 and the cast and crew stayed at The Lion.
The day’s programme is:
10.30am: The Making of A Christmas Carol, which is an illustrated talk by historian David Trumper.
11.30am: A Guided Town Walk - Enjoy a walk around various local film locations.
2.30pm: A Christmas Carol - a large screen showing of the famous film.
Tickets for the day are £10. Tickets for individual Sunday events may be bought separately.
Gerald Dickens has worked as an actor, director and producer for many years and is fascinated by his great, great grandfather’s life and works. He regularly performs in major theatres, arts centres and stately homes.
Gerald will be staying at The Lion in the same rooms Charles stayed in; which he described as “the strangest little rooms” with windows that “bulge out over the street as if they were little stern windows of a ship”.
The weekend is being arranged by Chris Eldon Lee, veteran BBC Radio 4 producer and former director of the Shrewsbury Summer Season and the events will be open to everyone.
Special package deals are available for guests wishing to spend the weekend in Shrewsbury in the company of Mr Dickens.
For details, tickets and package deals please ring The Lion Hotel on 01743 353107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org