"the mingled reality and mystery of the whole show"

The theatre features regularly in Dickens' novels.

Dickens had considered becoming an actor, and the public readings of his work were hugely popular.

His eldest daughter, Mamie, recounted how her father used to act the dialogue of his novels in front of a mirror in order to bring the character to life, as well as to test how his work read. 

Read more about Dickens and the stage here.