In 2018, we celebrated the last of our book bicentenaries, with Persuasion-themed events throughout the festival. Every day was exciting and special, but there were some stand out moments and nice surprises.
We started off at St. Swithin’s church, and as well as a beautiful evening with delicious nibbles, we were treated to the opportunity to view a copy of the entry in the church register showing Jane Austen’s parents’ marriage. It was only on show for a limited period of time, so we were very lucky to have been able to share such a wonderful piece of Austen history with our guests.
This year, our Promenade was led by the 33rd Regiment of Foot. They were hosted by the Holburne Museum, where they welcomed members of the public to their camp for an opportunity to ask questions, listen to talks and view drill displays. The 33rd made the whole of the first weekend extra special, and we were delighted to have had them with us!
We welcomed Chamber Opera Chicago for performances of Persuasion- A Musical Drama on Wednesday and Thursday, and enjoyed seeing the Mission Theatre transformed with some fantastic lighting and projection. We knew the production would be spectacular, but the dancers and chamber orchestra were far beyond anything we had imagined.
Our final weekend featured a talk from the wonderful Dr. Amy Frost, who stepped in to save the day when another speaker had to move their talk. Dr. Frost, informative and engaging as ever, gave a brilliant and well-attended talk on “Building Austen’s World” looking at the architectural fact and fiction in Austen’s novels. There were some great questions from the audience, and we all came away with our ideas of what the buildings Austen writes about looked like.
We rounded off the final Saturday with a hilarious performance from the Natural Theatre Company – Darcy’s Ball. A packed theatre laughed their way through an hour of hijinks with Darcy, Elizabeth and Lady Catherine de Bough, with plenty of opportunities for the whole audience to join in!
2018 was the best Festival ever, how are we going to surpass it in 2019? Come and find out from 13th to 22nd September 2019.