Community Voices
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(photo: Nadi Lindsay / Pexels)

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There was no doubt whatever about that.”

These words ushered in the greatest adventure of my life — meeting my soulmate, life partner, and future husband, Fred C. Allen. Little did I know that 29 years ago, seeing Patrick Stewart say these words in the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, from his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, would fundamentally change my entire life and lead me to San Pedro.

At the time, Fred had been A Christmas Carol’s lighting designer for six years, taking this very successful one-man play to Broadway and winning an Olivier Award in April 1994. He captured my heart in one light cue, where the whole stage became the size of Patrick’s face in an other-worldly yellow/green hue to depict Marley’s head on Scrooge’s door knocker and suddenly disappeared. 

We wanted to present this work, as it has informed our relationship for the past 29 years, and its messages are very relevant to today’s world situation. We are also concerned about the Warner Grand Theatre’s impending closure, scheduled for January 2024, and the plight of theaters in general, which are facing mounting challenges. 

Although Fred is not Jewish, and I am, our families had the same core values. Throughout our relationship, we try to embody the principles of Tikkun, which means contributing toward the welfare of others. This has been a central and fulfilling part of our identity in this community. We feel we have a mandate to improve the world in which we live, starting with our local environment. 

Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that translates to “repairing the world.” It embodies the idea that humans have a responsibility to actively contribute to making the world a better place. This ladder of charitable behavior encompasses acts of social justice, environmental stewardship, and compassion. By engaging in actions that promote healing, justice, and empathy, we can all participate in the ongoing process of repairing and improving the world.

After much discussion and Sir Patrick’s permission to use his script, we organized a staged reading of his adaptation of A Christmas Carol, featuring local luminaries, such as Councilman Tim McOsker and actors from Little Fish Theatre/Shakespeare by the Sea, Encore Theatre Group South Bay, House of Bards Theatre Company, and Cornerstone Theater Company, represented by Bruce A. Lemon. 

This presentation is intended to be an Arts District Culture TALKS! fundraiser to benefit the four theater organizations performing in San Pedro. We are grateful to Renee O’Connor-Sura (House of Bards Theatre Company) and Jacob Nye (Encore Theatre Group), who readily agreed to direct this production. 

The Arts District’s Culture TALKS! series originally started in 2018 on Mexico’s Independence Day as an expression of our commitment to community arts education. This program seeks common ground by engaging participants in conversations about culture and how the arts inspire empathy, understanding, and identity. The program embodies the Arts District’s mission statement — to support, advocate, and promote San Pedro arts and artists in all genres. We celebrate diversity and inspire appreciation of cultural and artistic expression. 

This series is conceived to further establish the Arts District as a thought leader, inform the public of cultural equity issues, and demonstrate the power of art to promulgate change. As we celebrate our diversity, we seek to enrich our collective sense of place to unite us as a community. Speakers are selected based on their art and activism and will discuss how Los Angeles residents are rising to challenges, affecting not only artists but the existence of healthy, sustainable, diverse communities. 

The San Pedro Waterfront Arts District will present this staged reading of Sir Patrick Stewart’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Friday, December 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Warner Grand Theatre (478 W. 6th St.).

Before the performance, Santa Claus is hosting a photo booth for holiday pictures. After the reading, VIP ticket holders will be treated to a dessert reception in the Warner Grand’s upstairs lobby.

Tickets are available on our website — A portion of the proceeds will benefit the four participating local theaters. spt

Linda Grimes

Linda Grimes is a retired sales and marketing geek with a passion for art, design, and creative placemaking. She serves as the Executive Director of the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District and can be reached at

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