For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Free Library of Philadelphia Hosts Dickens Idol Contest, Kicking Off Year of Dickens

What: In honor of Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday, the Free Library is bringing Charles Dickens back to life through the first ever, American Idol Inspired, Dickens Idol Contest! The Contest is an open call audition to find an actor who best embodies Dickens.

Contestants should be ages 20-70 and should:
• Bring Dickens to life through appearance, personality, and mannerisms
• Have a general knowledge of literature and Dickens’s life and works
• Be comfortable with improvisation and a quick learner
• Be available for blocks of time throughout the coming months (for participation in events)
• Feel comfortable dressing, acting, and speaking like Charles Dickens

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon will kick off the event by welcoming the Dickens hopefuls and explaining the contest rules. Actors will be judged by a panel of Dickens experts and local celebrities on their ability to look, act, speak, and perform like Dickens. For the audition, actors will be asked to:
1. Present a brief monologue as Charles Dickens
2. Perform a scene theatrically as Dickens
3. Endure a fast-paced Q&A by the judging panel of Dickens experts

When: Monday November 14, 2011 at 10:30AM

Where: Auditorium, Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street

Who: Auditioning Actors (Anyone male or female ages 20-70)

Why: In 2012, the world will collectively celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens but the city of Philadelphia has a special connection to the renowned author. The Free Library of Philadelphia has one of the largest collections of Dickens’s works and personal effects outside of the UK, currently held in the Library’s Rare Book Department. To celebrate Dickens’s bicentenary the Free Library will be launching the “Year of Dickens,” a year-long celebration of Dickens-related special events, literary salons, and creative ways to celebrate the famed author. The Dickens Idol contest kicks off the Year of Dickens, bringing literature to life and perpetuating the famed author’s legacy.

Winnings: The winner of the Dickens Idol will take on the role of this legendary author, bringing him back to life in a series of Dickens sponsored events at the library and win $1,500!


To enter, RSVP to email by November 9, 2011
For a full list of rules and requirements visit and click on the Dickens Impersonator Link under “Spotlight”



Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850