The Jane Austen Festival – 11th to 20th September 2015
With 100+ events over the course of ten days the 15th annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath is the biggest yet. Opening officially on Saturday 12th September with the spectacular Grand Regency Costumed Promenade, central Bath will come to a standstill, whilst over 600 process through the streets. Regency costume is essential to take part in the Promenade and entry is by ticket through the Festival website, however watching the parade is free.
To celebrate the bicentenary of Austen’s novel Emma, readings are taking place in Bath Central Library plus an additional Ball the ‘Highbury’ Country Dance. Being held at Bath Pavilion the ‘Highbury’ Country Dance is a less formal affair, where Regency costume is not obligatory, unlike the celebrated Masked Ball at the Pump Rooms on the second weekend.
Other events include ‘Austen Undone’, theatrical walking adventures presented by the award winning Natural Theatre Company. The Mission Theatre is the main venue for events including talks and discussions from authors and Austen authorities, Prof John Mullan, Maggie Lane and Lauren Nixon, plus actor, Richard Heffer on the film ‘Waterloo’. With the superb voice of Rosie Lomas and keyboard specialist Katarzyna Kowalik presenting Music and Matchmaking and harpist Sarah Deere-Jones tutoring the instrument and performing a very Regency Soiree these are just a couple of the Festival musical delights. The darker side of the 18th Century is tackled with presentations on curing illness, crime and punishment as well as the decorative with how to use a fan and dress and behave in Regency style. There are more minibus tours and day trips including the very popular event to Lyme Regis and additional workshops on bonnet making, Regency dancing, and even archery. Food events take place in a Bath Regency townhouse, the Victoria Art Gallery and an exclusive evening at No.1 Royal Crescent. Dr Amy Frost delights again with presentations at two venues, the Museum of Bath Architecture and Beckford’s Tower.
The Festival uses many historic Georgian buildings and whilst Regency costume is always welcome it is not essential to wear at events other than the Promenade and Masked Ball. The exciting Finale is ‘Jane Austen the interview’, a brand new piece commissioned by the Festival and performed by the Natural Theatre Company.
Full details of all events are on www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk