This interview with Mark Charles Dickens (which I believe originally ran in National Geographic) discusses not only his famous great-great-grandfather, but also what other members of the family -- and a few fake members! -- are up to these days.
Last year I mentioned that a play about the writing of The Life of Our Lord was in development. The other day, Gary Colledge, who's serving as consultant, wrote to give me an update on the project.
The title of the play is To Begin With. It's being written by Jeffrey Hatcher and produced by Dennis Babcock. And Gerald Dickens, who has spent so much time portraying his ancestor in one-man shows and who participated in several staged readings of this play in London, will star in the U.S. production. They hope to open in Minneapolis, "perhaps as early as February 2015."
Below is a short synopsis from a draft of a brochure that Gary sent:
Forty years ago, Monica Dickens, great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, founded the first U.S. branch of the Samaritans, an organization that provides emotional support to those in distress. Monica's daughter Prudence Stratton attended their "Breakfast for Hope" benefit that marked the anniversary.
In an Independent article about four descendants of famous Britons, 21-year-old drama student Ollie Dickens is one of those featured. He gives a delightful interview about what it was like to discover the significance of his heritage ("it hadn't been blown out of proportion, he really did know how to write"); his love for A Christmas Carol; and how he likes to think that he (like his relatives Harry Lloyd and Gerald Dickens) inherited some of his ancestor's acting genes.
I just had to add this one from the Daily Mail, captioned "Three of Charles Dickens['s] great great great grandchildren, siblings Tom Dickens 15, Lydia Dickens 14 and Oliver Dickens 9 take a selfie with their ancestor's new statue in Portsmouth today."
(Image copyright Matt Scott-Joynt/M and Y News Agency Ltd)
There was much celebrating in Portsmouth today, as the city's favorite son finally had his new statue, by Martin Jennings, unveiled on his birthday! Members of the Dickens family and the Dickens Fellowship were on hand for the festivities, along with actors Edward Fox and Joanna David. BBC News has the story and some great photos, including a lovely one of the writer's great-great-great-grandon, Oliver (yes, Oliver!) sitting on his lap.