Dickens' Christmas Extravaganza

Sunday-Tuesday, Dec. 7-9, 2014

Welcome friends, to Cape May's annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza!

Cape May is the perfect place to celebrate Dickens and the holidays, as it transforms to a Victorian Christmas Village during this season. Immerse yourself in the world of Dickens through lectures and performances. The festivities conclude on Tuesday evening with a proper Victorian Feast. 

The Extravaganza package costs $160 per person and inclusive packages are available at participating inns. Please contact the participating inns directly to register. If you choose not to stay in a participating inn, you may register at 609-884-5404.

Sunday, December 7
7:30PM:  "Seasons Greetings! Classic Christmas Literatures" 
Dr Elliot Engel and Ms Quinn Hawkesworth present dramatic readings and commentary from works by O.Henry, Robert Benchley, Jean Ritchie, and even Elliot Engel  (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)

Monday, December 8
9:15AM: "How William Became Shakespeare" 
With this year being the 450th anniversary of The Bard's birth, it's time to take a look at the only author more universally  acclaimed than Dickens (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)

10:15AM: "Our Slippery Mother Tongue: A Light Look at the History of the English Language"
 With Dickens known as the greatest novelist in the English language, it's high time we take a look at the origins of our  English language which Dickens so brilliantly utilized. (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette &  Bank Sts.)

11:30AM: Lunch on your own

2:00 PM: Wine Tasting: Continue your wine education at the Willow Creek Winery. Their wine production includes a variety of whites and reds which range from dry to sweet wine. (Willow Creek Winery)

3:00 PM:  "Surely You Jest!   A Cornucopia of Comedy"
 Dr. Engel and Ms Quinn Hawkesworth present dramatic readings and commentary from the greatest masters of mirth  including Dickens (but of course!)--and Shaw, Wilde, Twain, and Stephen Leacock 

Monday evening is a free evening for you. MAC offers evening tours. Tickets can be purchased at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.

Tuesday, December 9
10:00AM: Lecture/Discussion: Jay Friedlin, president emeritus of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship, leads a discussion of one of Dickens’ novels. (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)

11:00AM: " A Dickens of a Show"
Quinn Hawkesworth presents humorous and dramatic interpretations from PICKWICK PAPERS, OLIVER  TWIST,NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, LITTLE DORRIT, and DAVID COPPERFIELD (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton  Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.

12:00PM: Lunch on your own

1:00PM: Physick Family Christmas Tour/Trolley

3:00PM:  "Pride of Place: The Brilliance of Southern Literature"
Ms Hawkesworth performs readings from some of the greatest contemporary writers all of whom delightfully reveal the     uniquely  Southern gift of story-telling. Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.

7:00PM: Dickens Feast: Join your fellow Dickensians at the Washington Inn for a four course feast and closing festivities.


Gingerbread House, 28 Gurney St., 609-884-0211


Henry Sawyer Inn, 722 Columbia Ave., 609-884-5667

Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., 609-884-5555

Leith Hall, 22 Ocean St., 609-884-1934

The Queen Victoria, 102 Ocean St., 609-884-8702

Twin Gables, 731  Columbia Ave., 609-884-7332/800-966-7332


Victorian Lace Inn, 901 Stockton Ave., 609-884-1772


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About our presenters

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Eliot Engel now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA he won that university’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Dr. Engel has written ten books published in England, Japan, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays which he has written have been produced during the last ten years. Since 1980, Dr. Engel has been President of the Dickens Fellowship of North Carolina, the largest branch of this worldwide network of clubs. Professor Engel continues to give literary and historical programs throughout the world.


Jay Friedlin is a physican and a vast reader of Charles Dickens and Dickensian lore. He is the president emeritus of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship and is an annual presenter at the Dickens Extravaganza.


A native of Abingdon, VA, Quinn Hawkesworth is multi-talented as an actress and storyteller as well as a fabric artist. In acting, she is known for a wide range of characters and strength in carrying one-woman performances. She has delighted audiences portraying Emcee in “Cabaret,” Amanda in “The Glass Menagerie,” Emily Dickinson, Cleopatra, and countless others. She also has worked off-Broadway and in regional theatres. While living in North Carolina she was a member of the North Carolina Touring Artists Program, touring to nearly every county in the state. In addition to Barter Theatre, she has been a member of the Burning Coal Theatre of Raleigh, N.C. Her one-woman performances have included Ivy Rowe in the actress’ adaptation of Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies,” Charlotte Bronte in “Mistress of the Moors,” and Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst.”