A marionette in a dress that resembles and is decorated like a christmas tree stands in front of a teal curtain.

Strings of Merriment: Ronnie Burkett’s Little Dickens Plays at the Grand Theatre for the Holiday Season

Master-puppeteer Ronnie Burkett brings his adults-only interpretation of “A Christmas Carol” to the Auburn Stage

Created & Performed by Ronnie Burkett
With Musical Arrangements and Sound Design by John Alcorn

Limited Run on the Auburn Stage
November 27 – December 9, 2023

Opening November 28

Season Sponsor: BMO


November 20, 2023 – London ON – This holiday season, the Grand Theatre invites audiences to experience Charles Dickens' yuletide classic “A Christmas Carol” like never before at Ronnie Burkett’s Little Dickens. Playing for a limited run on the Auburn Stage from November 27th through December 9th, the raucous, adults-only production brings back internationally-acclaimed and multi-award-winning puppeteer, Ronnie Burkett and The Daisy Theatre ensemble for an evening of fun, merriment, and puppets.

“Most of us have encountered various versions of “A Christmas Carol” through our lives,” remarks Grand Theatre Artistic Director, Rachel Peake. “But, I can guarantee that audiences have never experienced it like this – under the inspired hands of Canada’s master puppeteer, Ronnie Burkett. Overflowing with outrageous fun, unyielding creativity, and a dash of mischief, Little Dickens is a laughter-packed experience that remains a poignant testament to the true spirit of the season: genuine human connection.”

A merry marionette mash-up, Little Dickens casts The Daisy Theatre diva, Esmé Massengill as the cantankerous, drunken Esmé Scrooge – a fading bitter actress. In the lively spirit of vaudeville, Esmé embarks on a journey to redemption, encountering a cast of Daisy Theatre favorites – each portraying Dickens' infamous characters– as she travels her bumpy, often naughty, path to redemption. With no set script, wild improvisations, and mandatory audience participation, Little Dickens promises a unique performance each night for audience members over the age of 16.

Little Dickens marks the highly-anticipated return of Ronnie Burkett to the Grand – following his nearly sold out run of The Daisy Theatre in 2016. But, Burkett’s journey in puppetry began long before that. The marionette prodigy has been captivated by puppetry since the age of seven, and began touring his shows around Alberta at the age of fourteen. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes was formed in 1986, continuously playing on Canada’s major stages, and as a guest company on numerous tours abroad. Burkett received the 2009 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, The Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre, a Village Voice OBIE award, and four Citations of Excellence from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette. In 2019, Ronnie Burkett was appointed as an Officer of The Order of Canada.

In addition to creating and performing in Little Dickens, Burkett also takes on the roles of marionette, costume, and set designer for the production. Joining him on the creative team are: John Alcorn (Musical Arrangements), Terri Gillis (Production Manager), and Crystal Salverda (Stage Manager/Technical Director).

Little Dickens plays on the Auburn Stage from November 27th – December 9th, 2023. Single tickets range from $44.95 - $51.51 (subject to availability) and are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

To learn more about Little Dickens, please visit: grandtheatre.com/event/little-dickens. Additional facts, photos, and updates can also be found by following @thegrandlondon and #GrandGoesLittle on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok.


The Grand Theatre wishes to acknowledge and honour the original stewards of the land on which our Theatre stands. Gratitude and recognition are extended to the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lunaapewak peoples for preserving this land where we gather and create art.

About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.

In the heart of downtown London, Ontario lies one of Canada’s oldest regional theatres and a leading cultural hub of today: the Grand Theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Rachel Peake, and Executive Director Evan Klassen, the Grand proudly presents diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe – and around the corner – on its two stages. The not-for-profit theatre is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. Further, the Grand Theatre is an ardent supporter of educational programming, as demonstrated through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. For more information, visit: grandtheatre.com.

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For more information please contact:
Caitlin Core, Communications Manager
ccore [at] grandtheatre.com (ccore[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
519-672-9030 ext. 266

  Monday, November 27 at 12:00 p.m. (Cameras, please arrive at 11:30 a.m. to set up)
Where:  Auburn Stage, Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond Street, London, Ontario
What:  Little Dickens photo, video, and interview opportunities for media




Creator/Performer - Ronnie Burkett


Marionette, Costume, And Set Design - Ronnie Burkett
Musical Arrangements and Sound Design - John Alcorn
Production Manager - Terri Gillis
Stage Manager/Technical Director - Crystal Salverda
Associate Producer - John Lambert
Costumes - Kim Crossley
Puppet Builder - Angela Talbot
Puppet Builder - Gemma James-Smith
Puppet Builder - Marcus Jamin
Puppet Builder - Jesse Byiers
Puppet Builder - Gil Garratt
Puppet Builder - Martin Herbert
Shoes & Accessories - Robin Fisher
Shoes & Accessories - Camellia Koo
Marionette Controls - Luman Coad
Majordomo - Robbie Buttinski
Majordomo - Daisy Padunkles