The art center, which features a theatre, museum and gallery, began part one June 26 with the opening of its original marionette production of Dickens’s Great Expectations. Oliver Twist followed on July 5. The two plays rotate weekly through September 1.
February 7, 2012 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. Organizations across the world are hosting special events throughout 2012 to commemorate Dickens’s life and work.
A number of special activities including exhibits, afternoon teas, recitations and workshops highlight the life and work of England’s great Victorian writer.
The festival was the brainchild of David and Debby Simpich, who met on a tour of England 30 years ago. Together they visited London’s Doughty Street Dickens Museum. It was their first date. “Our mutual admiration for the author’s great stories and characters really helped strike up a friendship,” said David Simpich.
The couple was married a year later. As David began his career in marionette puppet theatre, the works of Dickens continuously served as inspiration. A Christmas Carol was his first Dickens adaptation (1987), and the production was presented annually in Colorado Springs for more than a decade, with seven of those years at the historic Broadmoor Hotel.
Great Expectations and Oliver Twist were both produced in the 1990’s and toured throughout the country at theatres, festivals and schools. Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol have each received the UNIMA USA Citation of Excellence, the highest honor in North American puppetry.
“Debby and I thought Dickens’s two hundredth birthday was a great opportunity to bring these plays together and hopefully continue to inspire interest in his work. He was a magnificent storyteller,” said David. “We hope the special events and activities we’ve planned surrounding the performances will only add to the discovery and appreciation of his talent and the impact his writings continue to have.”
The Dickens Parlor at Simpich Showcase opened June 26. It features Dickensian exhibits and afternoon tea for patrons. The theatre hosts preshow recitations on Dickens’s life and work and special puppetry workshops and backstage tours.
Part II of the Dickens Festival will open December 14 with the original Simpich adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Packages are available for the summer shows or all three performances.
June 1 through September 1, 2012
Great Expectations: June 26 – 30, July 10 – 14, 24 – 28, August 7 – 11, & 21 – 25
Performances: 7pm Fridays; 2:30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays
Oliver Twist: July 5 – 7, 18 – 21, August 1 – 4, 15 – 18, 29 – September 1
Performances: 7pm Fridays; 2:30pm Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays
All Performances at Simpich Showcase, 2413 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Members of the media may receive two complimentary passes to any performance during the festival and (limited) backstage passes to be used immediately following some performances. Reservations should be made in advance by contacting the Simpich Showcase Box Office at (719) 465-2492. Please present I.D. at Box Office on performance date. Complete performance information is available at www.simpich.com.
In the tradition of European Puppet Theatre, Simpich performances are intended for adult and family audiences. For over 20 years, Simpich Marionette audiences have been 80% adult. All performances are recommended for adults and school age children. Length and content is not appropriate or intended for preschoolers. Great Expectations is particularly suitable for ages ten and older.
Tickets range from $8 to $12 and are available online at www.simpich.com and at Simpich Showcase Box Office: (719)465-2492. Package deals are available for the summer festival and/or Christmas festival. All tickets holders receive admission to The Dickens Parlor.
- Celebrate the Life of Charles Dickens (bookseller16.wordpress.com)
- Stamps feature Dickens characters (bbc.co.uk)
- Re-reading Dickens: Oliver Twist (gerryco23.wordpress.com)
- The Dark Knight Rises: ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ Is The Story’s Literary Source, According To Director (huffingtonpost.com)
- Charles Dickens turns 200, books still popular today (fsn.typepad.com)
- Doing Dickens – Part 11 (thepenguinblog.typepad.com)
- Dickens on film (filmspotter.wordpress.com)
- Conversations with A Twist (thepenguinblog.typepad.com)
- The Royal Mail unveils special Charles Dickens stamps (itv.com)
- Film: Newswire: Red Bull will give Oliver Twist its “3-D parkour action movie” wings (avclub.com)
- Charles Dickens identified as author of mystery article (guardian.co.uk)
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