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


At Home on the Stage takes place as part of the Library’s Year of Dickens 2012

PHILADELPHIA June 6, 2012—As part of its Year of Dickens 2012 celebrations, the Free Library of Philadelphia is excited to host a special exhibition that examines Charles Dickens’s passion for the performing arts. At Home on the Stage: Charles Dickens and the Theatre opens June 4 in the Rare Book Department at Parkway Central Library and showcases unique items from the Library’s world-renowned Dickens collection.

An avid fan of the theatre, Dickens was involved in the performing arts early in his career. He frequently attended and immensely enjoyed theatrical performances throughout London and loved to socialize with his many friends in the theatre world. Dickens could even do a mean impression of some of the top actors of the day! His passion for the theater culminated in his amateur stagings of plays in his “Smallest Theatre in the World”—a miniature stage built in his own home. Featuring original playbills, rare letters, and various ephemera, At Home on the Stage offers a unique perspective on Dickens’s flair for the dramatic.

“With his colorful characters and rich, dramatic plots, it’s no surprise that Charles Dickens had such a great love for the theatre,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library. “The Free Library is extremely proud of our extensive Dickens collection, and I encourage everyone to visit our new exhibition and enjoy a unique perspective on this storied author.”

The Free Library’s Rare Book Department is home to one of the finest collections of Dickens’s first editions, personal letters, original artwork, and theatre ephemera in the world, largely gifted to the Library by two generous benefactors, William M. Elkins and D. Jacques Benoliel. In conjunction with the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth, the Library is celebrating a Year of Dickens 2012 with special exhibitions like At Home on the Stage, literary salons, and many creative ways to celebrate “The Inimitable,” as he liked to call himself. For more details about the Year of Dickens 2012, including a comprehensive list of events, visit

At Home on the Stage is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Rare Book Department at Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street. For more information about the exhibition, call 215-686-5416.

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


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