Each year, Dickens on The Strand is joined by hundreds of entertainers and special guests. Meet some of them in advance of this year’s festival.
Lucinda Hawksley is an award-winning author, art historian and travel writer, with a special interest in literature and art from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, and wrote an authoritative, illustrated guide to her famous ancestor and his works in 2012. Lucinda is a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London – and Patron of the Norwegian Pickwick Club. Her other books include Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel; Katey: The Lives and Loves of Dickens’s Artist Daughter; March, Women, March; and The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter.
Jane Dickens Monk’s father, Cedric Dickens, was the great grandson of Charles Dickens and had nearly finished writing his life story when he died in 2006. Jane has laboriously worked on completing those memoirs, which give a fascinating account of his life. From living with Henry Dickens and his wife, meeting Charles’ sister-in-law “Auntie Georgie” to his war years and professional career, “My Life” shows in intimate portrait of life with the Dickens name. The book features numerous personal photos, anecdotes and more from a beloved Dickens descendant.
Oliver ‘Ollie’ Dickens is a great-great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens who lives in North London. He is a British actor who recently graduated from LAMDA, one of the finest drama training academies in the world, having previously graduated from the University of York with a BA(Hons) in Writing, Directing and Performance. Ollie returns this year, after a 20 year absence, to perform his great ancestor’s best-loved Christmas tales. He is the latest in a long tradition of Dickens descendants to participate in the festival and is greatly looking forward to committing the same level of energy, intensity and flair to his readings as his great-great-great grandfather would have done!
Anne was raised in Houston’s East End and graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School. She graduated from Texas Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in both Speech and History. While there she earned a Texas Teaching Certificate. She was honored with the Osborne Award for Drama and became a member of Alpha Psi Omega, the drama honor fraternity. She continued her education with graduate studies at Texas State University. For several years Anne taught history and speech before becoming part of the business world. This will mark the 23rd year for Anne to portray Queen Victoria at Dickens on The Strand.
Father Christmas although known by many names throughout the world has been sharing his extraordinary kindness and generosity to those in need since the 4th century. His many monikers include Père Nöel (France), St. Nicholas (Europe), Babbo Natale (Italy), Sinnterklaas (Holland), Ded Moroz or ‘Grandfather Frost’ (Russia), and Kris Kringle or Santa Claus (USA).
Jules has called Texas home for over 40 years. Graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration, he was the winner of the Exxon Mobil award of Excellence in 2014. This will mark his first appearance at Dickens on The Strand as he takes on the role of Prince Albert with Anne Boyd’s Queen Victoria. Jules’ early performance work centered on violin and trumpet before moving onto acting
John Neitz has performed as the Dickens on the Strand town crier since 2010. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the mayor and city council appointed him Official Town Crier of the City of Minneapolis in 2004. John has competed in the Invitational World Town Crier Tournament in Chester, England, finishing with a ranking of seventh in the world. He is escorted by his wife Christina, an accomplished historical costuming specialist. Between them, John and Christina have more than five decades of experience in historical reenactment and historically themed entertainment.