Celebrate Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday in Clark Park

Jan 30, 2012 11 years ago

Sunday, February 5, 2pm
Griffith Hall at USciences
43rd St and Kingsessing Ave (across the street from Clark Park)
Free admission

One of West Philadelphia's most unique and entertaining events, the annual Charles Dickens Birthday Party, is coming this Sunday, February 5. This year, the novelist's 200th birthday will be celebrated with music, dramatic readings, and tasty treats. Sponsored by Friends of Clark Park, in honor of the famous statue of Dickens that has graced the park since 1901, the party will commence at 2pm in Griffith Hall of the University of the Sciences. Please come early as the program will begin on time and will last about 90 minutes.

Jared ReedBritish folksinger David Jones will kick off the party with a medley of songs popular in England during the time of Dickens. Described by the New York Times as "a polished craftsman with a warm glowing quality," Jones has performed on NPR's Prairie Home Companion and at major folk festivals in the United States and Great Britain. Curio Theatre's Jared Reed will perform a scene from his adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The Kingsessing Morris Dancers, first place winners in the comic division at the 2012 Mummers Parade, will offer a sampling of English morris dancing. Also appearing will be Frank Chance, Ceil Mann, and Curio Theatre's Paul Kuhn with selected readings from David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, and Great Expectations.

Dickens was a literary superstar when the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia were developed with new housing, schools, and parks. The bronze Dickens was installed in Clark Park in 1901 and for over a century it was the only Dickens statue in the world, due to the novelist's request that no memorials or statues were to be erected in his honor. West Philadelphians meet annually on or near his birthday to commemorate the statue's special role in literary history.