Christmas and New Year is a time to settle old accounts and look forward with hope to the future. Not so for Toby Veck. Unable to settle his own meagre debts, browbeaten by the hypocrisy of rich philanthropists and worried for his family’s uncertain future, he begins to doubt the good in poor people and their place in the world.

His cry of despair echoes up to the church tower from which the spirits and goblins of the bells have always watched over him and his family. They must now teach him a lesson; that he might learn how bad the bad are born.

Written 160 years ago, The Chimes was Dickens’s second favourite Christmas story, a biting political satire whose relevance has only sharpened over time.

The Chimes will be presented, for one performance only, as a semi-staged rehearsed reading.

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