Festival Director – 2014 Festival

2-JackieWelcome to the 14th Jane Austen Festival in Bath which this year is extended to ten full and hectic days of events.  Our official opening, the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade includes an attempt at breaking our own Guinness World record for ‘The largest gathering of people dressed in Regency Costumes’ set in 2009. The number to beat is 409 with the count taking place in the Assembly Rooms before the start of the Promenade.

We are delighted to be collaborating with local orchestra Bath Philharmonia under musical director Jason Thornton and vocal wonder male soprano Robert Crowe, to bring a very special concert Exsultate, Jubilate: An evening with Rauzzini, Bath’s famous castrato to Bath Abbey. Rauzzini organised the music and concerts in the city and lived in the same street as Jane Austen in Bath.

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy show us the Regency gadgets in their collection, including a pocket sundial similar to one owned by Jane’s father, the Rev George Austen. We turn detective with Dr Amy Frost when she dissects a Townhouse and with author Lauren Nixon when she pieces together the real Jane Austen. Dr Gaby Malcolm tells us what JAFF means and about the research for her new book Fan Phenomena: Jane Austen. Hallie Rubenhold discusses loose women and the Portrait of a Lady? and Prof John Mullan tells us what matters in Mansfield Park – 200 years after its publication.

There are more dance workshops than ever before designed to cater for all tastes, abilities and on various days throughout the Festival so that as many as possible can take part. There are also harp workshops, etiquette lessons and how to dress your table for dinner. Plus lots of guided walks, minibus tours as well as special dinners and Regency refreshments with expert Jane Tapley in her private residence.

We are particularly delighted to welcome back Artifice (classical plays for beautiful places) with their new production of Lover’s Vows, the play within the novel of Mansfield Park. To celebrate Mansfield Park’s bicentenary, the entire novel will be read daily in Bath Central Library.

This year the Festival becomes truly international with events from New Zealand – Promise & Promiscuity, the male soprano Robert Crowe from USA, Professor Gillian Dooley from Australia, Charlotte Productions from Scotland (Mansfield Presents), Austen’s Women with Rebecca Vaughan and brand new Austen (a musical) from England!

The Roman Baths are the unique and atmospheric location for the drinks reception prior to the Regency Costumed Masked Ball held in the historic and beautiful Pump Rooms. Box Tale Soup return with characters of cardboard for their masterful portrayal of Northanger Abbey and our finale is the very wonderful Austentatious.

3 pre fest gettogether

I look forward to seeing you soon.
Jackie Herring – Festival Director



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