What's the Jane Austen News this week?Jane Austen's England - Limited Edition American travel company Peregrine Adventures have an excellent Jane Austen literary tour planned for 2017. The limited edition tour is timed to commemorate the 200th year anniversary of Jane Austen's death and will visit destinations in Southern England significant to Jane Austen's life (including Bath and the Jane Austen Centre). It will also include towns and cities that inspired her work (such as Lyme Regis), and visit film locations where some of the films based on her novels have been shot. Highlights include a regency dance class with an expert in historical dance, and a talk about regency fashion with a period costume expert. The tour will be led by a Peregrine leader, but there will be various local expert guides at different locations within the tour, some of whom are members of the Jane Austen Society. Having looked at the full programme we're rather impressed. So if you're looking for a thorough tour of Jane Austen's England, but don't fancy trying to plan your own, this might be of interest as your summer holiday next year? The eight day tour begins on June the 12th, and we're looking forward to welcoming the Peregrine tour group to the centre on the 16th.
Trend Setter - Mr Darcy and his Christmas Jumper Colin Firth was certainly responsible for the wet-shirt obsession which gripped much of the nation following his performance in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, in which (as we needed to remind you), Firth, while playing Mr Darcy, jumps into a lake on Pemberley estate and emerges as a water-drenched heart throb. However, it seems that Mr Firth, while playing another incarnation of Mr Darcy (stuffy lawyer Mark Darcy in 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary) may also be the source of the novelty Christmas jumper trend.
The original sweater went through many designs because it had to be just right. The character of Mr. Darcy is a constipated English prig when we first meet him so we needed something totally ridiculous to pierce that pomposity. And for some reason neither Santas nor X-mas trees nor snowmen worked as well as that red-nosed moose or reindeer we chose. It also had to look home-knit, something his mother knitted for him.Mr Darcy - novelty Christmas jumper trend-setter. It's certainly not a connection we at the Jane Austen News would have automatically made! It's an interesting thought though.
Sharon Maguire, director of all three films in the Bridget Jones franchise.
Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen at Cambridge Arts Theatre
For those of you who, like us at the Jane Austen News, have been watching and enjoying the wonderful BBC Television series on Henry VIII’s six wives presented by historian Lucy Worsley, this upcoming event may be of interest. Lucy will be at Cambridge Arts Theatre presenting At Home with Jane Austen on Sunday May 7th 2017, dispelling the myth that she was a cynical, lonely spinster. During the evening, Lucy will consider what home meant to Jane and tells her story through the rooms, spaces, possessions and places that mattered to her; offering audience members a snapshot of "a witty and passionate woman of her time, who refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy." This event is also a prelude to Lucy’s forthcoming new book, At Home with Jane Austen. It's an event that's a little way in advance it's true, but it is one that we're sure will sell out - which is why we're mentioning it now. (Tickets for anyone wishing to go are available from the Cambridge Arts Theatre website.)
Love & Friendship Tops the Polls Again
Austen screen adaptations are generally mined for their sweeping romance, but Stillman parks the heaving bosoms for pure comedy, and the resulting film is a joy. We are reminded what a witty, socially observational writer Austen was, and how she and Stillman make great collaborators two centuries apart. Droll, funny and refreshingly unsentimental, Love & Friendship is one of the sharpest and wittiest takes on Austen yet.
Northanger Abbey in Eastbourne As part of the celebrations in 2017 to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, an ambitious stage adaptation of Northanger Abbey will be presented from Monday February 20th to Wednesday February 22nd at Devonshire Park Theatre. The adaptation, by acclaimed Austen specialist Tim Luscombe, has been described as "a delight - witty, fast moving and stylish - and a perfect way to celebrate a great writer." Previously Tim Luscombe's version of Mansfield Park was produced and toured in 2012 and 2013. This adaptation of Northanger Abbey will be directed by Artistic Director Karen Simpson with an eight-strong cast and was first produced by York Theatre Royal in 2004, Salisbury Playhouse in 2007 (followed by a tour), and in 2010 at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, and in 2013 in Chicago at the Remy Bumppo Theatre.
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