Dickens 2012, the global celebration honoring the life and work of Charles Dickens, takes center stage this December with CST’s World’s Stage presentation of Dickens’ Women—featuring a tour-de-force performance by renowned British actress Miriam Margolyes. Best known for her roles as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series, The Nurse in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and Mrs. Mingott in The Age of Innocence, Margolyes brings to life 23 of Dickens’ most colorful and entertaining characters. Some are famous and iconic, others are lesser-known creations from his books, but all offer a unique glimpse into the real-life Charles Dickens.
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours including intermission.
Produced by Richard Jordan Productions in association with Andrew McKinnon and Pleasance.
Programming in the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
International programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
is supported, in part, by the Julius Frankel Foundation.
Drawn from Charles Dickens’ novels and sketches—including his most popular such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Nicholas Nickleby—Dickens’ Women was developed by Miriam Margolyes and Sonia Fraser for the 1989 Edinburgh Festival. It has since traveled worldwide, including London, Jerusalem, Santa Cruz, New York, Boston, Sydney, Auckland and all over India.
With the Chicago presentation of Dickens’ Women, CST joins institutions and organizations from around the globe that have created programs, events and activities to commemorate the bicentennial of Dickens’ birth—Dickens 2012.
Dickens’ popularity has waned little since his death and he remains one of the best known and most read English authors. At least 180 motion pictures and TV adaptations based on Dickens’ works have been produced. However, Margolyes hopes to offer a different and perhaps more critical perspective on the man himself. “He’s a surprising man” she says. “Much crueler than people expect, so I hope the show will shock the audience and remove them from the comfort zone people likely expect from Dickens.”
Dickens’ personality transcends his books and the characters explored in Dickens’ Women were chosen not only because they are some of the most colorful and entertaining characters in Dickens’ writing, but because they were based on real people in his life; people he fought with and cared for, loved and hated. In this way, the play is as much about the man himself, as it is about the 23 characters performed by Margolyes.
Miriam Margolyes, Performer
Sonia Fraser, Director
Robert Deason, Pianist
Sarah Quinney, UK and North American Tour Lighting Designer
Richard Jordan Productions
Charles Dickens, commemorate the bicentennial of Dickens’ birth