The event is free but booking is essential due to limited capacity.
Tickets include free entry to the Charles Dickens Museum and its special exhibition Restless Shadow: Dickens the Campaigner from 15:00 to 19:30 on the evening of the event.
In partnership with UCL Festival of Culture
This event begins at the Charles Dickens Museum and ends at Fitzrovia Chapel.
“The restlessness of a great city, and the way in which it tumbles and tosses before it can get to sleep…” (Charles Dickens, Night Walks, 1861)
This year, the UCL Festival of Culture presents Dickens: Night Walks, a unique event in collaboration with the Charles Dickens Museum and UCL English. The event explores nocturnal London through Dickens’s eyes with readings, insights and performances.
Contributors include the Museum of Homelessness, musicians from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, UCL professor John Mullan, artist William Raban, UCL professor Matthew Beaumont (author of the highly acclaimed Night Walking: A Nocturnal History of London, Verso, 2015), and actors Sherrie Cameron Akoto, Dominic Gerrard and Elle Payne.
The venues are the Charles Dickens Museum, the Horse Hospital and the Fitzrovia Chapel. Audiences are to make their own way between venues; a self-led walking route will be provided, annotated with sites significant to Dickens.
See below for details of timings and venues, as well as more about the performers.
*Please note, precise timings and other details may change; we advise checking this page again on the day of the event.
Charles Dickens Museum
48 Doughty Street
London WC1N 2LX
The Horse Hospital
Colonnade, off Herbrand Street
Bloomsbbury WC1N 1JD
The Horse Hospital is a not-for-profit independent arts venue, with a curatorial focus on counter-cultural histories and emerging artists delivered through frequent events, underground film and artist’s moving image screenings, and exhibitions. When Dickens lived close by, this two-tiered stable was indeed rented by a veterinary. (Please note, this venue is accessible by wheelchair but its toilets are not.)
2 Pearson Square
London W1T 3BF
Fitzrovia Chapel is a secular chapel with extraordinary architecture. It was originally part of the former Middlesex Hospital, and was for nearly a century, a place of quiet contemplation for staff, patients and visitors alike. It was restored in 2015 after years in darkness. (Please note, this venue is accessible by wheelchair via a ‘sesame’ lift. It has one accessible toilet.)
Performers, in alphabetical order
The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras, renowned for its fresh, brilliant interpretations of classical music. Since 1998 the Academy has also been working to empower homeless and vulnerable adults through music-making. This evening, musicians from the Academy present a new work composed entirely by a group that meet at the West London Day Centre, a service open to anyone over the age of 25 affected by homelessness. (http://www.asmf.org/)
Sherrie Cameron Akoto is an actor for stage, TV and radio, appearing most recently on Channel 4 Dispatches. She trained at the Brit School and the London College of Music, and is currently is studying mental health with the aim of raising awareness through the arts. Sherrie is a collaborator with the Museum of Homelessness (see below).
Matthew Beaumont is Professor of English at UCL and Co-Director of UCL's Urban Lab, where he is responsible for the Cities Imaginaries strand. He is the author of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, Chaucer to Dickens (Verso, 2015) and The Spectre of Utopia: Utopian and Science Fictions at the Fin de Siècle (Peter Lang, 2012).
Dominic Gerrard is an actor and musician. He has toured with Edward Hall’s Propeller company as Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Solinus in The Comedy of Errors. He has also played Jaques and Oliver in As You Like It at Southwark Playhouse, directed by Derek Bond. He regularly performs dramatic readings of the author’s works at the Charles Dickens Museum.
John Mullan is Professor of English at UCL and a regular broadcaster and columnist. His books include How Novels Work (OUP, 2006) and Anonymous: A Secret History of English Literature (Princeton University Press, 2008). His new book will be on Dickens.
The Museum of Homelessness (MoH) is the first of its kind in the UK. It is being developed by and with people from all walks of life, including those who have been homeless. The MoH community explores the art, history and culture of homelessness to make a difference for homeless people today. It makes the invisible visible through collecting, research, events and exhibitions. MoH does not yet have a building, and instead presents its programme through partnerships such as this. MoH is founded by Matt Turtle and Jess Turtle. Matt has previously worked in programming roles for the Design Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts. In addition to MoH, Jess works on the Policy and Programmes team at the Museums Association, is the Chair of Trustees for the Simon Community, and sits on Battersea Arts Centre’s heritage committee. (www.museumofhomelessness.org)
Elle Payne is an actress, writer and artist who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. She is a collaborator with the Museum of Homelessness (see above) and Cardboard Citizens. She recently starred in as Cathy in Cardboard Citizens’ landmark staging of Cathy Come Home at the Barbican.
William Raban is one of the foremost British artists and experimental filmmakers of the last forty years, known primarily for his landscape, performance and multi-screen based films. His film, ‘The Houseless Shadow’ (2011), which employs Dickens’s essay ‘Night Walks’ to explore 21st-century homelessness.