The curtains drawn keeping out the cold night, the lights turned down. The audience wait in anticipation. Enter the reader, his story has begun. I am describing last night when Roger Gartland recreated the reading of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol in prose being a Ghost Story of Christmas’. We had all gathered to hear an acted out performance of this atmospheric tale. And we were not disappointed – there were a multitude of voices, noises, faces and actions. Roger Gartland was recreating what Dickens himself had done following the publication of the ‘A Christmas Carol or The Miser’s Warning’ in December 1843. The first public reading was in December 1853 and proved so popular that a year later in Bradford he had an audience of 3,700. There may not have been that many last night; after all nowadays there are many other distractions to entertain. But for nearly two hours we all enjoyed and took away with us the spirit of Christmas.
And to quote Charles Dickens – “I have endeavoured in this ghostly little book to raise the ghost of an idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their house pleasantly.”