‘A Victorian Christmas’ comes to life Nov. 30

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Doug Robertson
Doug Robertson

The Christmas time machine will be back in action later this month at the Salvation Army Citadel.

It started two years ago, or in the 1830s; continued last year, or the 1860s; and is back again this year, or the 1880s. “It” is Doug Robertson’s stories of Christmas in southwestern Ontario in the 1800s.

This year, his tale, performed on Nov. 30, focuses on a Chatham Christmas during the Victorian era, whereas last year, the story was of pioneer times, and before that, the colonial period.

“We’re working our way up through history,” he said. “This year is definitely different than the shows we’ve done before.”
Robertson said he’s enjoyed researching and performing each show.

“It was fun doing the pioneer one, just before Confederation,” he said. “And this time around, this is post-Confederation. Canada is a new country.”

Robertson said the concept this year sees him playing a grandfather sitting by the fire reflecting on life’s experiences – with a sense of humour of course.

“This is the early 1880s; the railroad has been in Chatham-Kent for a generation,” he said. “People were coming into our area bringing their traditions.”

He said his grandfather character talks about family, friends, neighbours and even new immigrants – who came all the way from Newfoundland – not part of Canada back in the 1880s.

Robertson said the tale will incorporate local history, but the focus is still on Christmas.

“It’s a nice, warm, fuzzy, Capra-esque tale,” he said, referring to Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Admission to the event is free, but the Salvation Army will be collecting non-perishable food items for its food bank and asks for a free-will offering. All proceeds will go to the group’s food programs in Chatham-Kent.

Robertson said every food item donated earns the donator a ticket to a prize draw after the show. Local merchants have donated prizes.

Performances for “A Victorian Christmas” take place at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Salvation Army Citadel at 46 Orangewood Blvd. in Chatham.

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