FEW Christmas stories are as much loved, well known or frequently adapted as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – and the tale was the first public reading the Victorian author gave.

Now the European Arts Company is bringing its own recreation of Dickens’ reading in a performance at Swindon Arts Centre at 7.30pm on Tuesday, December 5 — and all the tickets have already been snapped up!

Few people know that Charles Dickens originally wanted to be an actor. He was so pleased with his reading of A Christmas Carol, he declared: “The success was most wonderful and prodigious – perfectly overwhelming and astounding altogether!”

Dickens read the work for his adoring public more than 150 times and he was reckoned to have a magnetic stage presence, riveting eyes, expressive voice and wonderful powers of characterisation.

He made more money from his readings than all his novels and stories put together.

This production, adapted from Dickens’ own public reading scripts and eyewitness accounts of him on stage, recreates the spirit of Dickens’ original performances.

He will be played by actor John O’Connor, who lives in Rochester, where Dickens grew up and set many of his stories including Great Expectations, David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

He said: “I’m delighted to be touring again in A Christmas Carol. Dickens himself toured all over the UK and America performing the story and it’s wonderful to follow in his legendary footsteps.

“The reaction to the show last year was a delight and there will be laughs, tears and plenty of Christmas cheer.” - Sarah Singleton

For details about other dhows visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk