Simpich Showcase of Colorado Springs is joining in the international celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens by hosting a unique two part festival. The art center, which features a theatre, museum and gallery, will begin part one June 26 with the opening of its originAl Marionette production of Dickens's Great Expectations. Oliver Twist will follow on July 5 and then the two plays will rotate weekly through September 1. Theatre patrons will also be able to partake in a number of special activities including exhibits, afternoon teas, recitations and workshops intended to highlight the life and work of England's great Victorian writer.
The festival was the brainchild of David and Debby Simpich, who met on a tour of England thirty years ago and together visited London's Doughty Street Dickens Museum on their first date. "Our mutual admiration for the author's great stories and characters really helped strike up a friendship," said David. The couple was married a year later and as David began his career in marionette puppet theatre, the works of Dickens continuously served as inspiration. A Christmas Carol was his first Dickens adaptation (1987) and the production was presented annually in Colorado Springs for over a decade, with seven of those years at the historic Broadmoor Hotel. Great Expectations and Oliver Twist were both produced in the 1990's and toured throughout the country at theatres, festivals and schools. Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol have each received the UNIMA USA Citation of Excellence, the highest honor in North American puppetry.
"Debby and I thought Dickens's two hundredth birthday was a great opportunity to bring these plays together and hopefully continue to inspire interest in his work. He was a magnificent storyteller," said David. "We hope the special events and activities we've planned surrounding the performances will only add to the discovery and appreciation of his talent and the impact his writings continue to have."
The Dickens Parlor at Simpich Showcase will open June 26 and will feature Dickensian exhibits and afternoon tea for patrons. The theatre will also host preshow recitations on Dickens's life and work and special puppetry workshops and backstage tours.
Part II of the Dickens Festival will open December 14 with the original Simpich adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Packages are available for the summer shows or all three performances.
The Simpich Showcase Marionette Theatre presents The Dickens Festival showings of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist in repertoire, June 1 through September 1, 2012.
Great Expectations: June 26 - 30, July 10 - 14, 24 - 28, August 7 - 11, & 21 - 25
Performances: 7pm Fridays; 2:30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays
Oliver Twist: July 5 - 7, 18 - 21, August 1 - 4, 15 - 18, 29 – September 1
Performances: 7pm Fridays; 2:30pm Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays
All performances are at Simpich Showcase, 2413 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Tickets range from $8 to $12 and are available online at www.simpich.com and at Simpich Showcase Box Office: (719)465-2492. Package deals are available for the summer festival and/or Christmas festival. All tickets holders receive admission to The Dickens Parlor.