It’s impossible to avoid the whisperings about the Dickens bicentenary. With events lined up across the city on the day, Portsmouth will no doubt be a hub for Dickensian activity.
Famous actors will also be appearing, including New Theatre Royal patron and the ex-University of Portsmouth Chancellor, Sheila Hancock, and Brian Conley, who’s currently starring in the national tour of Oliver!
But, an actor who has long been associated with the iconic author, is Simon Callow. Having recently performed at Chichester Festival Theatre with two of Dickens’s short stories, Dr Marigolds and Mr Chops, the actor is launching his new book, Charles Dickens and the Theatre of The World.
He will do a reading at the Charles Dickens Memorial Service, at St. Mary’s Church, Portsmouth, and then travel to the New Theatre Royal for a Patrons’ Lunch, with actor Timothy West, Prunella Scales, Brian Murphy, and Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt.
Following this he will attend the Charles Dickens Statue Fund Simon Callow Celebration at the New Theatre Royal, where 200 children from Charles Dickens School will be given cake, in tribute to the Portsmouth Dickens Centenary celebrations in the city, where 1,000 children were given tea and cake in 1912. Simon’s performance will at 7:30pm, followed by a book signing from 9pm.
He will also be performing readings from his book at the Theatre Royal, Winchester on February 8.
Tickets cost £13 to £15 from the New Theatre Royal on (023) 9264 9 000 or go to newtheatreroyal.com,