hatlogo Great Stories Alive !
      "Performance with Passion & Purpose"

PO Box 11045 - Portland, OR 97211 - (503) 335-3876 - GreatStoriesAlive.com


FOR RELEASE ON:  Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Media Contacts:

Al LePage, Performer, Great Stories Alive! / 503-335-3876 / al.lepage@spiretech.com

Nette Plant, Performer / 604-327-2661 / netteplant@hotmail.com

A very Victorian "Christmas Carol" returns
with "new" twists Confederation 1867-style!

 Join Victorian "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson" and "Emmeline Newton of Fort Langley,"
for a special dramatic reading and to talk history in the year Canadian Confederation began

bookA dramatic reading of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" will be presented in the style of the Victorian era to benefit local area food banks and heritage organizations.  Nette Plant as “Learned Lady of Fort Langley Emmeline Newton” and Al LePage as "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian" return once again as they perform -- complete with accents, clothing of the Victorian period and other accoutrements -- Dickens' holiday classic.  They begin their passionate and dramatic performance by sharing their personal thoughts and feelings about the recent beginnings of Canadian Confederation in the year 1867 -- and what "the future" might hold -- for the crown colony of British Columbia.  Their performance includes the actual word-by-word version used by Dickens himself for his own public readings, and is sprinkled with period music, singing and a few surprises, too!  This unique one performance only event will take place on Friday, December 18th at 7PM in Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Road in Fort Langley, BC.    Doors open at 6:30 PM and admission is $10 per person with all funds equally benefiting Friends in Need Food Bank, Langley Food Bank, Friends of Fort Langley and Fort Langley Community Hall.  The performance is 2 hours in length and best appreciated by adults and mature children age ten and older.  Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling 604-888-3943 or purchased at the door, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  This is the third year this performance is being offered as the annual CBC Radio "A Christmas Carol" benefit reading event in the local area.  

"It's a time warp times two," begins LePage. "This year we're not just traveling back to the past, we're also making a quantum leap into the future since last year was 1858 and this year is 1867!  Lest you be confused," he adds, "last year we talked about the new crown colony of British Columbia in 1858, but this year we'll jump ahead to 1867 so we can talk about Canadian Confederation.  So, this years performance is not only about bringing Dickens' great story alive, but also to briefly touch upon this other great story of Canadian history."

Nette Plant as Mrs NewtonPlant and LePage both have shared a mission of playing to and with audience members to bring history and great stories alive as characters at Fort Langley historic site.  This will quickly become evident when you first encounter them before the performance, especially while they consider Confederation for Canada and discuss British Columbia joining as well.  Their love of improvisation combined with a highly interactive approach means there's lots of drama and fun often combined with some real surprises!  Even they don't always know what's going to happen.  Their creative use of voice shines through as they create all 26 characters – with interesting twists, lots of fun and some surprises, too -- all within the span of about two hours.

"Lady Emmeline Newton is the perfect historic figure for me to portray," notes performer Nette Plant, "because besides actually being the Chief Clerk's wife of Fort Langley, she also adored the writings of Charles Dickens. We can all play a part in fact, both the audience and myself, by fighting hunger and preserving history in our community by attending this benefit event."

candleAccording to Food Banks Canada's annual HungerCount 2009 report, Canada's only national survey of food banks and emergency food programs, 81% of British Columbia food banks saw more people coming through their doors this year.  When many of B.C.’s food banks were asked what contributed to the increased need: plant closures, industry cutbacks, and resulting job losses were cited as major contributing factors to the rise in food bank use.  89,886 people were assisted during the month of March 2009, up 15% over last year and the highest number of people ever served on record for the province.  Children represented 37.2% of the total 794,738 people assisted by food banks nationally during March 2009, and the rate for British Columbia was 31% or nearly one in every three individuals assisted being children during the same month.
Nette at Fort Steele

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” notes LePage. “So come and play along with us! Yes, join us for lots of laughter, and hopefully some tears, during our third annual dramatic reading duet of Charles Dickens classic 'A Christmas Carol'.





Suggested CAPTIONS for IMAGES (in order):

"I cut and pasted these pages from Dickens very first edition," says "Hutchinson" portrayed by Al LePage. 
"It was just an old beat up worn-out copy and thought
it would beautify my folder for the dramatic reading script."  
LePage loves to
play with the audience! (Photo credit: Melissa Ostrow/www.melophoto.net)

"Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian" as portrayed by Al LePage,
 is sure to bring you laughter, hopefully some tears, and a dance! (Photo credit: David Krapes)

"Lady Emmeline Newton" as portrayed by Nette Plant will not only perform
but also entertain you with music, a song and a surprise!  (Photo credit: Parks Canada)

Nette Plant, as travelling performer "E. Pauline Johnson-Tekahionwake,
 Mohawk Princess-Poet,"
on tour in "1898"at Fort Steele Heritage Town

The Friends In Need Food Bank is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide for the hungry in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, to inform and refer when needed and to raise awareness concerning hunger issues. Founded in 1989, it has grown from a basement operation to a 3200sq ft warehouse in Maple Ridge with a secondary distribution depot in Pitt Meadows.  It distributes to over 600 families and singles each month and assists 7 community agencies to provide food and nourishment to those who are hungry.  They depend solely on the generosity of the community and its members, receiving over 105,000 kilograms of donated food each year from local groceries, bakeries, retailers and community members.  The food bank is also a member of the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB) and abides by its Code of Ethics.  For futher information, assitance, to make donations or volunteer visit their website at www.friendsneedfood.com or phone 604-466-3663.

The Langley Food Bank is a program of Langley District Help Network, an incorporated society, registered with Revenue Canada as a non-profit organization.  In keeping with its slogan of "Neighbors Helping Neighbors it is entirely funded through the support of local churches, organizations and individuals, and does not receive any support from any government bodies.  It was first opened in Sept 1989 and has always had many enthusiastic volunteers who help in a variety of tasks including distribution, cleaning, food packaging, paperwork, and sorting.   Besides providing food, objectives include developing relational bridges with clients both to discover and find a way to their needs, whether physical, social, or spiritual in nature.  There are currently about 400 client families registered at the Langley Food Bank.   Including dependents, we are helping over 700 people with their food requirements each week.  In 2007, over 11,000 hampers were provided.  For further information visit www.langleyfoodbank.com or phone 604-533-0671.

The Friends of Fort Langley is a non-profit society whose purpose is to stimulate appreciation and enjoyment of Fort Langley National Historic Site through encouraging research, restoration and recreation of the site and activities consistent with the Sites themes and objectives.  Their Gift Shop, open daily from 11AM to 4:30PM, is located in the Visitor's Centre of Parks Canada's Fort Langley National Historic Site, and is the perfect place to pick up something to remember your day at the fort, or come on by to pick up locally made, locally themed gifts for your friends and family around the world.  For further information email fotf@uniserve.com or phone 604-888-3943.

Fort Langley Community Hall, completed in 1931, is a designated Municipal Heritage Site maintained and supported by a volunteer board of directors.  This large, gracious, 2 storey building has a grand ballroom upstairs which boasts an horsehair sprung dance floor, a stage with lighting, sound and balcony plus a kitchen, and serves the community as both the focal and social center of Fort Langley.  Downstairs there is a meeting room, an office and the Fort Langley Branch of the Fraser Valley Regional Library.  The hall is popular for parties, meetings, movies and weddings, and can accomodate up to 250 people.  It's charming outdoor gardens make the hall the perfect setting for special occasions.  In spring, there are cherry blossoms and colorful shrubs, geraniums and annuals; and in the winter, beautiful lights and decorations.  For further information or to make reservations to rent the facility phone 604-888-1759.