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Festival Review 2013

2013 Jane Austen Festival in Bath – What a time we had! and THANK-YOU to everyone who took part.

2013 a very special year and the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s ‘darling child’ Pride and Prejudice. To celebrate the milestone many events throughout the nine days took this much loved book as their theme.

We were thrilled to welcome back Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham) and Caroline Langrishe, performing Austen duologues in the portrait gallery of the Holburne Museum in Sydney Gardens. On Promenade Saturday the evening event was a very special fashion show in the Guildhall – Regency fashion and the most beautiful specially designed for the occasion wedding dress, on the catwalk!

We took minibus tours to Lacock the location near Bath used as Meryton as well as the very popular local and Hampshire tours. Dr Amy Frost from the Building of Bath Collection spoke about The English Country House in her talk entitled ‘Shades of Pemberley’.

There were walking tours every day, a coach trip to Stoneleigh Abbey and lots of theatricals – Pride and Prejudice included of course.We used lots of different venues and very special thank-yous have to go to Number 1 Royal Crescent, The Building of Bath Collection, The Holburne, The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases –locally known as ‘The Min’, The Mission Theatre, the Roman Baths, the Pump Room and Bath Central Library.

A very special mention for the Mission Theatre who were magnificent throughout the week, it really is one of our favourite locations and Ann and the team are so helpful. If you haven’t tried their lovely vegetarian cafe then you have missed out on a treat. Bath Central Library hosted the reading of the novel Pride and Prejudice from Sunday 15 to Saturday 21, Adrian Lukis read chapter 1, Caroline Langrishe Chapter 2; Crispin Bonham-Carter read the final two chapters.

Our workshops included manners , etiquette and how to behave at the dinner table. Also learning to play the harp, Regency make-up, turbans and dressing on a budget. Dancing lessons were provided by our John Gardiner-Garden from Australia as well as our local dance troupe the Jane Austen Dancers.Northanger Abbey performed by Box Tale Soup with their 7 puppets received a well deserved standing ovation and the performances by Two Bit Classics of Pride & Prejudice by two actors will return in 2014 as a complete piece; it was so exciting to be in on the birth of a new production.John White was Mr Adams and told us how to behave, Jane Dawes was Simply Jane and Penny Townsend talked about Austen’s Darling Child. All wonderful and enjoyable. Jane Tapley gave over her house for Private Breakfasts, Rummaging in Reticules and the very popular Soup to Syllabub.The Grand Regency Costumed Promenade was fabulous being even bigger and better but with numbers at around 600 including the 32nd Cornwall Regiment. The Masked Ball at the Pump Room was a magical evening and the candlelight visits of Number 1 Royal Crescent a great success. Prof John Mullan talked all about Pride & Prejudice and was followed by the final instalment of Pride and Prejudice at the Library with Austentatious and Crispin Bonham-Carter. The finale was the tremendous Austentatious who were brilliant!

See you soonJackie Herring – Festival Director

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