The dramatic reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was enthusiastically received in St. Marys last year, and The Rotary Club of St. Marys, with CBC Radio, is delighted to host it again on November 27. The evening is a fundraiser for Rotary community projects, the St. Marys Museum and the St. Marys Children's Choir, which is providing seasonal music for the evening, with the Festival Youth Singers and guest baritone James Baldwin.
This year's CBC guest host is Barbara Smith, a regular of The World At Six. The readers are Lally Cadeau, a Stratford Festival veteran best known for her work on television's Road to Avonlea; Douglas Chamberlain, a St. Marys resident with 20 Festival seasons under his belt; Denise Fergusson, another local who's acted in many North American theatres, and Michael Fox, a professional actor who will be reading A Christmas Carol for the fifth time.
All of the actors are donating their time, and many other individuals and businesses are contributing skills and funds for the evening — St. Marys valu-mart is a major sponsor of the evening.
Written in 1843, A Christmas Carol was Dickens' favourite novel; he had visited the industrial town of Manchester, England and was greatly affected by the poverty of the so-called working class. Dickens eventually started reading the story publicly to benefit children's charities.
The first reading took three hours; in time, Dickens shorted it to 80 minutes. In 1990, Judy Maddren and her colleagues at CBC decided to read this shorter script for an adult audience, combine it with seasonal music, and at the same time raise money for causes that connected with Dickens' own values: the poor and the homeless, education, and health care. Over time, it has grown to become a nation-wide event.
The reading will take place on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. at the St. Marys United Church. Tickets are $15.00 each and can be purchased at Ray Bennett Men's Wear, 284-1310, at KAMI on York Salon Stratford 273-6011, or from any St. Marys Rotarian. For more information, contact Terry Pook at 284-3181.