The Bench Victorian Soiree

Written by Charles Dickens, Rita de Bunsen and others

Friday 20th December and Saturday 21st December 1995

Directed by Rita de Bunsen

A Victorian Soiree of Song and Verse, featuring A Christmas Carol devised for public performance by Mr Charles Dickens - including mulled wine and mince pies.

AuthorCharles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870)

Born in Portsmouth, Dickens was first a journalist in London, then a periodical novelist. He is one of the most famous novelists in the English language and many of his stories concern the widespread poverty and social injustice prevalent in Victorian Britain.

ProductionA Bench Victorian Soiree

In pre-radio and television times, everybody had his or her own "party piece" of music or poetry or song. We present a selection of pieces that might have been heard at this time. Please join in with Good King Wenceslas and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens loved reading his works to family and friends and very early on he was persuaded to give charity readings. In 1858, after his sensational separation from his wife, he decided to go professional and do readings for money! In fact he only pretended to read, for having memorised a special adaptation of the piece, he performed it holding the book in one hand and a ruler in the other; this is Dickens' own adaptation.

A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843, the same year as Martin Chuzzlewit, and it was immediately popular. In the 150 years since then it has become established through book, play, film and even cartoon, as one of the enduring Christmas traditions.

This is the second Dickens recital that John Scadding has done; the first, 'The Story of Little Dombey', was performed in January. Bench Theatre went on to produce a full scale play of 'A Christman Carol' in 2004.


The Bench Victorian Soiree poster image

This production was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.

Songs Poems and Recitals

A Christmas CarolRead by John Scadding
HostPete Woodward
HostessIngrid Corrigan
Louisa, the pianistKathy O'Hanlon
George HarrisPeter Corrigan
MaidsZoë Corrigan
Nicola Scadding
GuestsJohn Batstone
Andrew Caple
Alice Corrigan
Rita de Bunsen
Juno Hollyhock
Eileen Norris
John Scadding
Tim Taylor
Special GuestTom Kennar


Directors Rita de Bunsen
John O'Hanlon
Lighting Gemma Harding
Devised and designed by Rita de Bunsen