The Malton Dickensian 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 in 2015.
Clair said: “The festival is part of our overall work to reclaim Yorkshire’s literary heritage and celebrate the remarkable connection Dickens had to Malton. It’s put together on a volunteer-basis by me, and kindly supported by Miriam, Lucinda and the volunteers at the Counting House in Malton, so we really hope people come out and support it, and get involved in some truly Christmas spirit and festivities!”
A movie star, a Big Sing, theatrical shenanigans, and an exclusive screening of what’s set to be this year’s Christmas blockbuster are highlights of this year’s Malton Dickensian Festival.
BAFTA winning actress, Miriam Margolyes, the much loved star of screen and stage, best known for her role as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter movies, returns once more to Malton.
Miriam, a Dickens aficionado, will join Charles Dickens great, great, great granddaughter Lucinda Hawksley, in an exclusive Q&A session after a screening of The Man Who Invented Christmas, in which Miriam plays the role of Mrs Fisk. As well as being Dicken’s direct descendent, Lucinda Hawksley is an author in her own right, who lectures regularly at the National Portrait Museum in London.
The Hollywood movie tells the journey that led to Dickens’ creation of A Christmas Carol, a timeless tale that shaped Christmas as we know it. The film stars Christopher Plummer as Scrooge, Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, and a starry cast including Jonathan Pryce. The screening takes place on December 16, 4.40pm at The Palace Cinema in Malton.
Miriam Margolyes said: “I only have a small part in The Man Who Invented Christmas, but it’s a sweet film, with the wonderful Dan Stevens playing Charles Dickens. There have been many iconic films of A Christmas Carol, and this latest shows how this very special book endures. It’s timeless, and perhaps its message of kindness and hope are ones we should value now more than ever. 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.”
On December 8, local primary school children will perform festive songs at a Big Sing at The Milton Rooms, kindly sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solictors.
Malton town centre will come alive with Dickensian spirit on December 9 with street theatre from Hardcastle’s Mighty Excelsior Theatre Company. 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.
On December 10, there will be a lunchtime performance by the Hardcastle Mighty Excelsior Theatre Company at the Milton Rooms of A Christmas Carol, interspersed with some ‘totally irrelevant songs and other outpourings’. The troupe conjure up the pathos of poverty in the city at Christmas time, and they should know! Thrill to Scrooge’s Christmas recipes, and find out what was so tiny about Tim, and many other little known things you never knew about this classic tale.
Scrooge Counting House Museum in Malton will be open every Saturday in December 2017, from 10am to 1pm, with a performance of A Christmas Carol in Scrooge’s office at 2pm and 3pm on Saturday December 9; donations welcome.
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. Tickets £25 to include lunch, wine and coffee at the Talbot Hotel, Malton.
Miriam added: “I fell in love with Dickens as a child and would like to appeal to children and adults alike to come and enjoy the spirit of ‘A Christmas Carol’. Once you’re hooked by his words, his books will enrich you over a lifetime. It’s going to be enormous fun.”
Dickens most famous book A Christmas Carol has had 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.
Selina Scott, Patron of the Festival said, “’We are thrilled Malton and A Christmas Carol has once again captured the imagination of Miriam and Lucinda. Their talent each year sets the Festival alight. They both have busy lives and demanding schedules. To make the journey north once more this year, in memory of the wonderful and much missed Stephen Joll, who founded the festival, is especially poignant.”
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 £10 (concessions £9).
To book Christmas lunch featuring Miriam Margoyles and Lucinda Hawksley on Sunday December17, contact the Talbot Hotel, Malton on 01653 639096.
Picture Shows: Miriam Margolyes, photo credit Kyte Photography
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