Downtown Southport will be transformed into a Victorian-era village this weekend during the Brunswick Arts Council’s first-ever Charles Dickens Christmas Festival.
The event, organized in cooperation with the City of Southport, Brunswick County Schools and area venues, churches and organizations, celebrates the 200th birthday of the beloved English author on Friday, November 30, and Saturday, December 1.
Partly a street fair, the festival will bring the holiday season of yesteryear alive, complete with actors and volunteers in period costume, carolers and street performers.
Santa’s sleigh and carriages will line the streets, creating festive photo opportunities for spectators. And for one $10 admission, they will have access, on both days, to a variety of family-friendly activities, plays and musical performances presented simultaneously in more than 20 local venues.
“There is something for everyone. And events are repeated, too, to allow the opportunity to see everything,” festival organizers noted.
While most of the performances and activities are volunteer-based, the Brunswick Arts Council is paying some professionals, including playwright, radio dramatist and sound-effects artist Tony (“Sparx”) Palermo, to participate.
The organization bought the rights to a stage-reading of Palermo’s “A Christmas Carol.”
Actor, producer and director David zum Brunnen is bringing “Food and Froth,” a comedic take on Charles Dickens’s favorite things to eat, and “The Night Before Christmas Carol,” a lighthearted, fictional account of Dickens as he sits alone and writes his best-known work.
Local troupe Brunswick Little Theatre will perform musical numbers from “Oliver Twist” and a vignette of “Mr. Fezziwig’s Christmas Ball” from “A Christmas Carol.” The Ballet Opera Alliance will present a dance from “The Nutcracker Ballet.”
A traditional Nativity play will be presented at a downtown church.
And choirs from three churches—Saint Philip’s Episcopal, Southport Presbyterian and Trinity United Methodist—will present musical selections, as will area choir and theater students and a host of quartets and soloists.
Children’s activities will include shows from Wilmington puppeteer Gina Gambony, storytelling from professional Joan Leotta, and a visit from Santa.
The Brunswick Arts Council will use proceeds from the Charles Dickens Christmas Festival to continue its mission of arts education and cultural enrichment.