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Festival Review 2010

Opened on Friday 17th September with the Pre-festival Get Together prior to the very busy first day.  It was lovely to see old friends and make some new ones over a glass of wine and nibbles.

The weather on Saturday was perfect for promenading. With lunch in the Guildhall accompanied by music and dancing and the chance to browse the stalls in the Country Fayre while George III gazed down from the wall!

In the evening we were royally entertained by Mike Parker on harp, pianist Gillian Dooley’s beautiful voice and the superb Tongue Tied Theatre group with their productionHe Must be in Want of a Wife!

What a perfect end to a perfect first day.During the nine days of celebrating everything Austen, we learnt about dressing Regency style with Serena Dyer in her informative lecture Bonnets to Boots; Discovered the Gothic novel with Professor William Hughes and the Jane Austen Centre’s very own Lauren Nixon. Food always plays an important part in the Jane Austen Festival and we tasted Regency gravy and gooseberry tart with food historian Holly Newton. We danced at St Swithin’s Church.

Made our own reticules, travelled to Saltram House in Devon, walked around the city with Bath Parade Guides seeing delicacy and debauchery, gambling, gossip and gallivanting. We took a carriage, persuaded our hair visited the Stanhope sisters and spent an eveningAt Home with the Austens. All too soon the week was over the finale took place at the Francis Hotel in Queen Square when Karen Eterovich entranced us with her wonderful pieceCheer from Chawton.

So many things to do and see that, thanks to Penny Townsend, unlike Jane Austen one never leaves Bath with‘…happy feelings of escape!’

Many thanks to Owen Benson our official photographer for the wonderful images.Many thanks to all who took part and in particular the very special team at the Jane Austen Centre without whose help this wonderful festival would not take place. An extra special mention for Georgia Delve, volunteer extraordinary.See you again in 2011

Best wishes
Jackie Herring – Festival Director

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