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Critic's picks: A Christmas Carol; Festive Cantatas; The Blues Songs of Christmas

Our Arts reporter's top picks for the week ahead: A Christmas Carol at Craigdarroch Castle; Festive Cantatas at Christ Church Cathedral; The Blues Songs of Christmas at Mary Winspear
Jason Stevens stars in a one-man A Christmas Carol. HANDOUT


Where: Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Cres.
When: Wednesday, Dec. 14 to Saturday, Dec. 17; Wednesday, Dec. 21 to Friday, Dec. 23
Tickets: $32.79 from 250-592-5323 or

Why: One of the top draws of the season is actor Jason Stevens’ one-man A Christmas Carol, a highlight of Craigdarroch Castle’s programming each Christmas season. Stevens has perfected his version of the Charles Dickens classic, and the performance (which is recommended for ages 13 and up) always draws capacity crowds. Seating is not assigned, so arrive early if you’re looking for an up-close experience. Note: COVID-19 precautions remain in place, and masks are required when visiting the castle. For more information, visit


Where: Christ Church Cathedral Victoria, 930 Burdett Ave.
When: Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $45 ($10 students) from

Why: This popular Early Music Vancouver/Pacific Baroque event will fill Christ Church Cathedral with Christmas-themed church cantatas (including May Our Mouth Be Full of Laughter) by J.S. Bach. The Pacific Baroque Orchestra, directed by Alexander Weimann, with help from Hélène Brunet (soprano), Arwen Myers (soprano), Krisztina Szabó (alto), Jacques-Olivier Chartier (tenor), and Sumner Thompson (bass), will have a grand time with this program, which was first performed on Christmas Day in 1725. It has been a seasonal staple ever since, and will bring Pacific Baroque’s year to a close a triumphant fashion.


Where: Charlie White Theatre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney
When: Saturday, Dec. 17
Tickets: $30 from or 250-656-0275

Why: Victoria blues bastions Big Hank and the Kingpins wrap their busy Christmas season with a tour-closing show at the Mary Winspear Centre, one that mines the surprisingly deep well of bluesy yuletide favourites. With a setlist that includes classics from Big Joe Turner, Charles Brown, Etta James, and Louis Jordan, you won’t find a more soulful Saturday night showcase than The Blues Songs of Christmas. The house will be rocking so don’t bother knocking. Everyone is welcome at this blues bash.