A Christmas Carol


About the show

Judy MaddrenJudy Maddren In December of 1989, my husband, our four children and I, were staying at a cottage for a few days. He and I cooked up a deal...if I kept the children occupied after supper, he would clean up the dishes. So for three evenings, I read the complete Christmas Carol to my four young ones. But their father kept sneaking out of the kitchen, tea-towel in hand, to listen to the story. I realized that once we grow up, we usually leave behind the pleasure of hearing a story read aloud. And with that thought, this one..."Wouldn't it be wonderful to read "A Christmas Carol" to adults!

A few years after writing the story, Charles Dickens shortened it so he could present it as an evening's entertainment. With that briefer text in hand, and the support of colleagues at CBC radio, I set about mounting a public reading with music.

It happened the first week of December in 1990. I booked a good choir to sing carols, a lighting specialist to add a theatrical sparkle, rented a local church, and borrowed CBC sound expertise. My children and their friends were roped in as ushers, my husband looked after house lights, and the volunteers for the charity sold tickets at the door. The church youth group handled the reception. From ticket profits, we raised a small sum for a Women's Shelter.

It was a fabulous evening. And the next year I was asked to put the reading on again. More people came, and the readings grew across Canada. Hearing the story has now become a tradition for many Canadians. I hope it becomes one for you. Merry Christmas!

Judy Maddren

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Judy Maddren Biography:

From 1993 to 2009, Judy Maddren was the voice of World Report, CBC Radio's flagship newcast of national and international news. She was also the Language Advisor for CBC News, helping writers and broadcasters with pronunciation, grammar, and CBC writing style. Though television has been part of her broadcast experience, Judy loves radio, and "the power of the word". And she has translated that love for language into readings across Canada of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". She began with one reading in 1990, but since then has helped hundreds of communities across the country to put on their own readings, and to raise money for local charities.

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Message from Judy:

This is definitely an idea that grew "like Topsy"! When I mounted the first reading in 1990, I was convinced it would be a fine evening's entertainment. Evidently more than 100 communities across the country each year agree with me. I am delighted that so many in Canada (and in the United States and Britain too!) heard this great story of transformation. Even better, many people benefit from the proceeds. I hope you found a reading near you, but if you didn't, why not consider getting one started in your community?

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