The Riverside Dickens Festival, Inc. is a regional educational non-profit corporation, both California and federally tax-exempt.  In support of literacy, the Riverside Dickens Festival seeks to enhance a sense of community among California residents by creating a series of literary events that bring together people from all segments of society.  Annually, it provides educational, family-oriented, literary entertainment and activities such as plays, dramatic and musical performances, pageants, living history presentations, workshops, lectures, classroom study, exhibits and a street bazaar with free entertainment, vendors, and costumed characters.


The Riverside Dickens Festival holds its primary event in February in historic downtown Riverside, California on the Main Street Mall between University Avenue and 11th Street.  The featured book for the 2018 festival is Great Expectations and you are encouraged to keep that in mind if appropriate to your proposal.  The 2018 festival will be February 24 and 25 and is currently seeking performers in the following categories:


Street Performers – Outdoor venue – Saturday and Sunday – 10 AM—5 PM

May be musicians, magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, puppeteers, or any other period entertainment.  Performances run continuously throughout the day.  Preference given to “Pass the Hat” performers.


Street Characters – Outdoor venue – Saturday and Sunday – 10 AM—5 PM

Street Characters may be any Dickens character or associated Victorian historical figure. The actor should research the character, and develop dialogue with which to engage the audience.  Performances run continuously throughout the day.


Stage Acts – May be a play, musical performance, lecture, juggling, dance act or portrayal of an author who was a Dickens’ contemporary or other period appropriate entertainment.  Costumes and performances must fit the period: Victorian, England.  Performance times run 30 minutes maximum. Stages will range from our family stage, main stage, and Tavern venue for adults.


Historical Living History Encampments – Saturday and Sunday – 10 AM – 5 PM

Non-performance areas meant to represent any facet of Victorian life. The encampment should have a living history component to it.


Orchestra for Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball – Riverside Municipal Auditorium – Saturday – 8:00 PM-12:00 AM

Set-up would begin after 6:00 PM with sound check at 7:00 PM.  Dancing begins at 8:00 PM.


Proposals must contain contact information, a short description of the entertainment offered, compensation required, and include set-up/teardown times and any other special needs.  With regard to compensation we ask that you keep in mind that the Riverside Dickens Festival is a non-profit, educational endeavor and is entirely supported through small grants and private donations.  More than one act may be proposed for any of these venues.  DVD’s of performances are appreciated and may be mailed to the address on the proposal form.  Overnight accommodations are the responsibility of the performers.  The Riverside Dickens Festival does not allow “Passing the Hat” for paid performers.


PLEASE NOTE: Although you may request certain stages and times, the Riverside Dickens Festival reserves the option to schedule performers to stages and times that best fit the overall schedule of the Festival.


If you would like to apply to participate in the 2018 festival, please complete the proposal form and submit to the Dickens Festival Entertainment Chair at the address provided on the form, or email to

Request for Proposal

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