A Weekend Celebrating Charles Dickens’ 200th Birthday in Worcester

Dickens Returns To Worcester

Worcester, MA — As the world celebrates Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday, Vaillancourt Folk Art–known for Christmas Traditions–is bringing Gerald Charles Dickens to Worcester. He has set off on a world tour, retracing the historic steps that Charles Dickens made during his famous American tours. With the birthday celebration that began with the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace, Gerald will stop in Worcester in September on his 2012 American Tour!

For this historic tour, Dickens will entertain the audience with a one man performance of Dickens’ classic ghost story, A Christmas Carol, at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on Friday, September 21st at 8:00pm followed by two performances at Vaillancourt Folk Art in Sutton on Saturday, September 22 at 2:00pm with excerpts from The Republic of My Imagination and Oliver Twist and at 7:00pm with A Child’s Journey with Dickens, and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Meet the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens as he reclaims the main stage at Mechanics Hall in the same manner in which Charles Dickens did in March of 1868. A limited number of tickets are available for a VIP reception before the performance. VIP reception ticket-holders will be introduced to Gerald and enjoy fine hor d’oeuvres donated and prepared by The People’s Kitchen. Following each performance, Gerald Dickens will be on hand to sign merchandise and greet patrons.

The Dickens Returns celebration is available because of the generous support of Worcester Historical Museum, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and Richard Carr & Associates.

Charles Dickens visited America on two book tours – the first in 1842 and the second in 1868, this tour included a reading at Mechanics Hall. By 1868, Charles Dickens was the most celebrated author in the English speaking world, and close to 2,000 patrons jammed into Mechanics Hall to hear his dramatic performance. Charles’ great-great Grandson will be touring the U.S. with his very popular and artistic re-enactment of his ancestor’s performances, and specifically wished to include Mechanics Hall on his fall tour.

Born in Landport England in 1812, Charles Dickens was raised in a tough working-class condition and forced to work at a blackening factory—a dirty and backbreaking experience retold in many of his famous novels—after his father was forced into debtors’ prison. Charles took great pleasure sharing his novels and stories through readings to packed audiences across England and America. In an adaptive manner, Gerald Dickens has rekindled his great-great grandfather’s readings, considered by the New York Times as “a once in a lifetime brush with literary history,” and which the Los Angeles Times says “the audience was rapt, as it was in Charles’ day!”

Gerald Dickens has been re-enacting Charles’ dramatic readings since 2008 at Vaillancourt Folk Art to sell-out audiences.  He is actively celebrating Charles’ 200th birthday, starting in February with the Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Westminster Abbey followed by a banquet at The Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor of the City of London resides. On Valentine’s Day, Her Majesty the Queen along with the Duke of Edinburgh invited Gerald to Buckingham Palace to continue the birthday celebrations.



Mechanics Hall is an acoustical masterpiece internationally regarded as one of the world’s great concert halls for its superb acoustics and inspirational beauty. The elegant 19th century building in the heart of New England is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1857, Mechanics Hall is a non-profit organization owned by the Worcester County Mechanics Association.

Vaillancourt Folk Art has been creating their original hand-painted collectible chalkware from antique moulds in their Sutton, Massachusetts studios since 1984 with a goal of creating that one special gift that will be handed down for generations. Family owned and operated, Vaillancourt products are available at their retail store, on-line, at department stores such as Neiman Marcus, museum gift stores like Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and hundreds of small shoppes. Their Sutton Studio, Museum, and gallery is open daily, Monday through Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 11-5 all year.




Kathleen Gagne, Mechanics Hall, 508-752-5608
Luke M. Vaillancourt, Vaillancourt Folk Art, 508-476-3601