Malton Dickensian Festival (www.maltondickensianfestival.com) What the Dickens! Festival Returns to Malton
The Malton Dickensian Festival, celebrating the market town’s literary links to Charles Dickens is back, with headline star, Miriam Margolyes.
Dickens’ most famous book A Christmas Carol has a long association with the town. It is said that Dickens was inspired to base Scrooge’s famous Counting House on Smithson’s Counting House in Malton, now a Dickensian museum and visitor attraction. Throughout December, Scrooge’s Counting House Museum on Chancery Lane will be open every Saturday from 10m to 1pm.
Events begin on Friday December 8, with the ‘Big Sing’ as local school children perform their favourite Christmas carols at The Milton Rooms. Doors open for at this free event at 12.30pm for a 1.00pm performance. This event is kindly sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors.
Jenni Bartram, Senior Director at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, said: “Our firm, Crombie Wilkinson, live and work in the local community, so we’re really proud to sponsor the Big Sing, and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas that Dickens encapsulates in A Christmas Carol. The town should be rightly proud of our links to his most famous book.”
Malton town centre will come alive with Dickensian spirit on Saturday December 9 with Victorian street theatre from Hardcastle’s Mighty Excelsior Theatre Company at the Malton Food Lovers Christmas market. The irrepressible troupe of down-and-out Victorian thespians bring a medley of songs, dance and mayhem, featuring the Hardcastle Human Vegetable Machine. Horse and carriage rides will also be available on the day, and there will be a special performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the Counting House Museum at 2pm and 3pm. A free event, donations are welcome.
Sunday December 10 presents ‘A Christmas Carol Lunchtime Gala’. Doors open at 1pm at the Milton Rooms, with two contrasting versions of A Christmas Carol. Brian Oxberry, of the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society, will perform the traditional version. This will be followed by the Hardcastle Mighty Excelsior Theatre Company’s take on the tale. This rather unusual interpretation from the irrepressible group of down-and-out Victorian thespians will be interspersed with completely irreverent carols.
The fun packed festive gala will be introduced by a distinguished visitor to the Malton Dickens Festival - Paul Graham, secretary of the international Dickens Fellowship since 2012 and a member of the Board of Directors at the Charles Dickens Museum, Doughty Street, London. Paul will open proceedings with a brief look at the theatrical history of the Carol. Tickets for the lunchtime gala are £5 (£4 OAPs and under 16s) online or from the box office/01653 696240.
The final weekend welcomes BAFTA winning actor, Miriam Margolyes, the much loved star of screen and stage.
Miriam will join Charles Dickens' great, great, great granddaughter Lucinda Hawksley, author of the new book Dickens and Christmas. Miriam and Lucinda will take part in an exclusive Q&A session after a screening of the new film The Man Who Invented Christmas, in which Miriam plays the role of Mrs Fisk. The Hollywood movie tells the journey that led to Dickens' creation of A Christmas Carol, and stars Christopher Plummer, Dan Stevens and Jonathan Pryce. The screening takes place on Saturday December 16, 4.40pm at The Palace Cinema in Malton. Lucinda and Miriam will also judge the best decorated Christmas trees (by school children) at the Milton Rooms and Dalby Forest.
Miriam Margolyes said: “Malton should be rightly proud of its rich association with Dickens and this magical book, and I’m honoured to be celebrating the town’s literary legacy once more. It’s going to be enormous fun”
The festival concludes on Sunday 17 December, as Miriam Margolyes and Lucinda Hawksley explore what it would have been like to take part in a real Dickensian Christmas, with a book signing afterwards. Tickets are £25, to include lunch, wine and coffee at the Talbot Hotel, Malton.
The festival is organised by Clair Challenor-Chadwick, MD of Cause UK, who established the Malton Dickensian Festival as an arts and education charity, with patron Selina Scott and the late Stephen Joll and others in 2015.
For more information and announcements go to www.maltondickensianfestival.com
To Book the Q&A/screening of The Man Who Invented Christmas, Saturday December 16, 4.30pm, The Palace Cinema in Malton, call 01653 600008. Tickets £12 + Booking Fee.
To book Christmas lunch featuring Miriam Margolyes and Lucinda Hawksley on Sunday December17, contact the Talbot Hotel, Malton on 01653 639096.