For the first time we held a Ball on the first Saturday at the Pavilion, the Highbury Country Dance which was a great success. The Pavilion is a vast building and easily accommodated the 200 dancers giving everyone plenty of space to dance.
The Natural Theatre Company presented us with the hilarious Austen Undone! – Theatrical Comedy Walks, throughout Promenade day and the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade raised much needed funds for Whizz-kidz.
We ate some lovely puddings at the Victoria Art Gallery whilst looking at their wonderful exhibition of Jane Austen’s Bath, it was such a treat to see these original pictures from their vaults, some which very rarely go on display.
The workshops included dancing of course, playing the harp, bonnet dressing, language of the fan and archery and a big thank you to Bath Archers for helping organise this event.
Actor Richard Heffer joined us with a fascinating insight into the logistics and some unique photographs taken on set during the filming of the 1970 Russian/Italian production.John White appeared as James Buchan, an itinerant Apothecary, with his unusual cures, potions and hair dressing in an interactive performance at the wonderful Mission Theatre. Thomas Turlis, the Hangman from Tyburn let us into his secrets and also bought his gibbet with him complete with body (not a real one)!
The very lovely Amy-Nichole of the Period Costume Shop showed us how to create the perfect Regency look by dressing in ball gown, day dress and afternoon wear. On the final Friday we held our very popular costumed event The Regency Costumed Masked Ball with its reception around the Roman Baths and Ball in the Pump Room. A fabulous time was had by all. The amazing Hotbuckle Productions performed a superb Emma the play to a sell-out audience and likewise Professor John Mullan tested our knowledge on the novel. Did you know that it is the one book where the characters have kissed?
Our finale was Jane Austen – The Interview which was an incredibly funny performance by the Natural Theatre company which delighted the audience and left us wanting more. And so the 15th Jane Austen Festival in Bath came to an end, here’s to next year and thank-you to all our volunteers and to you who came and made it so much fun.
Jackie Herring – Festival Director