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rochdickensOn Friday 7th February – Charles Dickens’ 202nd birthday – members of the Rochester & Chatham Dickens Fellowship attended the first local evening screening of the film “The Invisible Woman”. The film is currently being shown at the Odeon Cinema in Dickens World Leisure Complex, Chatham. The film is based on the book by Claire Tomalin telling the life story of Ellen (Nelly) Turnan. The controversy from a Dickensian scholar’s point of view is a tantalising question: did Charles Dickens have a platonic relationship with the young actress or a love affair? There is also controversy over his separation from his wife, the mother of his ten children – and indeed whether Ellen Turnan had a child by Charles Dickens (or even more than one!). I am sure that Dickens scholars will continue arguing over this for years to come.

Whatever the truth about Ellen Turnan and Charles Dickens, members enjoyed the film and found it well acted and produced. There is local interest in the film: Chatham and Rochester get a mention and part of the story relates to Gad’s Hill Place in Higham. A lesser-known fact is that Ellen (Nelly) Turnan was born on March 3rd 1839 in Maidstone Road, Rochester and baptised later that month in St Nicholas’ Church.

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harlequin CD coverThe Rude Mechanical Theatre Company this week release the long-awaited soundtrack album from their 2013 summer production ‘Harlequin Goes to the Moon’. Recorded live by the cast at the company’s Peppe Nappa Studio in Eastbourne during the tour which featured over forty shows covering East and West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset and Devon, “I Want, I Want!” provides a permanent reminder of one of their most successful tours since they started to produce original plays in 2002. Read More

RichardIII-blogpostTwo Medway pupils will be treading the boards this summer with a professional theatre company. Kent-based Changeling Theatre Company open-air tour of Richard III comes to Rochester Castle on 10 July and Upnor on 31 July and 1 August.

Ashley Stevens and Jacob Clarke are playing the princes in the tower at the Rochester and Upnor performances after successfully auditioning earlier this year. Ashley, who turns 16 next month, lives in Lordswood and has just completed his GCSEs, including drama. He is looking forward to performing in Medway with all the cast. He said: “I’m not sure acting is something I want to pursue because at the moment I need to concentrate on my A’ Levels studies – including drama. I’m really grateful to Changeling Theatre Company for giving me this opportunity. More

Three Towns Theatre Company will be putting on Cinderella and rehearsals are well under way, with tickets going on sale shortly. Check their website for details by clicking HERE

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