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Mr Darcy’s Christmas Calendar – Book Review

Some of my earliest memories of Christmas involve the endless waiting for the big day and the delight we took in counting down the hours with an Advent calendar. Sometimes the tiny door would reveal a portion of the Nativity story, other years we would be greeted with a festive sentiment, and by far our favorite days were the ones greeted by a chocolate or treat. My children share my enthusiasm as well as a tradition of countdown calendars with their grandmother and I have three ready to go come December 1. Last year, however, I was given the most amazing Christmas countdown calendar of all. A treasured gift from a treasured friend.

Proceeds from Mr. Darcy's Christmas Calendar will go to benefit the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.
Proceeds from Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar will go to benefit the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.

When I first saw the cover of Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar, I thought it was a traditional advent calendar, with a gorgeous image of Jane Austen’s Chawton Cottage home dusted with snow and trimmed for Christmas. Each tiny window and door looked numbered and perforated and I thought, “What a wonderful idea!! Someone should have thought of this long ago!” I could only surmise whether the recipient would be treated to quotes or chocolate upon opening. Continue reading Mr Darcy’s Christmas Calendar – Book Review

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Masked Ball Preparation

Masked Ball

Jane Austen Festival Masked BallJane Austen Festival Masked Ball

Here’s a short film showing the dance preparations for the Jane Austen Festival Masked Ball 2015. The Ball was held in the Pump Room and Roman Baths.

See the film HERE

The first Jane Austen Festival in Bath was held in September 2001 over the course of a weekend with events taking place at the Jane Austen Centre in Gay Street.

The first Promenade set out from the Jane Austen Centre in 2004 and had 30 people including most of the staff taking part. In 2009 the promenade had over 450, all in costume with drummers, dancers, military and naval men. All ages, male and female had the most wonderful time in fantastic weather.

Outstanding memories of previous festivals for us are the Film Premiere in Bath of the ‘Bollywood’ film Bride & Prejudice, the wonderful readings given by Ben Whitrow (the best ever Mr Bennet) partnered by Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) and then Joanna David (Mrs Gardiner). Followed by Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham) and Caroline Langrishe (Lovejoy) celebrating the bicentenary of Pride & Prejudice with wonderful theatrical readings in the Assembly Rooms, the Holburne Museum and the Old Theatre Royal.

Superb food cooked and presented by Fiona Ravenscroft (A South West Cook of the Year) and eaten by us! 2008′s fantastic theatrical production by the Dorset Corset Theatre Company of Northanger Abbey. Plus of course the History Wardrobe with their ‘Undressing Mr Darcy’ always a hit!

 

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Jane Austen Festival 2015 – success

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Masked Ball

The Jane Austen Festival 2015

Wow, what a great Festival we’ve had this year. 10 days and over 60 events plus record attendance. I think everyone agrees it was the best ever.

jane austen promenade
Stopping the traffic on the Promenade

Continue reading Jane Austen Festival 2015 – success

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Film Trailer Launches

Today marks the release of the official Pride and Prejudice movie trailer from Lionsgate Films, and we have to say it’s looking like a high-quality production!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a re imagining of Jane Austen’s classic novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith. It’s the same story you know and love, with the added scare factor of hundreds of regency zombies and a fair bit of amended dialogue.

Jane Austen fans are divided on the franchise, but one thing’s for certain – the release of the movie will bring Jane Austen back into the world spotlight. That’s great news for the millennial generation, many of whom haven’t read a Jane Austen book or seen an adaptation. Continue reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Film Trailer Launches

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2015 Jane Austen Festival in Bath

Jane Austen Festival Promenade
Festival Promenaders taking a break.

The Jane Austen Festival starts on the 12th of September and looks like it will be the biggest and best ever.

Jackie Herring, Jane Austen Festival Director is happy with the arrangements and ticket sales. ‘Lots of events have already sold out but there are still a few tickets left. If you want to see something spectacular turn up on to the Regency Promenade on Saturday. Watch 600 spectacular promenaders in their Regency finery as they take to the streets of Bath.’

The event has been covered by The Bath Chronicle. Take a look at their article here

More Promenade information;

Each year the Jane Austen Festival officially opens with our world famous Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. The Promenade is a parade through the streets of this beautiful city and over 500 people all in 18th Century costume take part, making it a record breaking event. In 2014 the Jane Austen Festival achieved the Guinness World Record TM for ‘The largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costumes at 550′ All sorts of people take part from the very young to the young at heart plus red coats, dancers and our official town crier.

The Promenade stops the traffic in Gay Street, The Circus, George Street, Milsom Street and Orange Grove, making it difficult for drivers from 11am until 12.30pm on Saturday 12th September 2015.

ALL participants wear costume to take part in the Promenade and also purchase a ticket, the cost is £10 per adult, children 16 and under are free. £1 from every ticket sold is donated to the Festival’s charity, (2015 it is Whizz-Kidz) Tickets are in the form of a collectable wristband and on sale from the Online giftshop or by post from The Jane Austen Festival office c/o 40 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2NT from 2nd March 2015.

Don’t forget your festival souvenirs… Our Jane Austen Festival 2015 range is limited edition so once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Jane Austen Festival Mug Souvenir

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Jane Austen Centre Gets Honoured!

Visit England Welcome Award for The Jane Austen Centre

Martin Salter with the Visit England Award

The hard-working staff at the Jane Austen Centre were really pleased to find out that they had been recognised for their contribution to tourism in the area.

The Jane Austen Centre is honoured to receive the VisitEngland Welcome accolade which has been awarded as part of VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme.



“I know that all our staff work hard to ensure they give the very best care and attention to our visitors, and it is fantastic that they have been recognised for their outstanding, warm and friendly customer service.” Said Paul Crossey, General Manager. The Jane Austen Centre is Bath’s only Accolade winner in 2015.

These accolades are allocated through a scoring system based on an annual assessment by VisitEngland. They include the Welcome accolade, Hidden Gem, Best Told Story, Quality Food & Drink and the Gold accolade for top-scoring attractions.

So, what are you waiting for? Come to Bath and say hello!

The permanent Exhibition at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath was originally created with the guidance of local members of the Jane Austen Society and authorities on Jane Austen, Louise Ross and Maggie Lane.

martin salter

The Exhibition aims to be not only informative but exciting and illuminating. With knowledgeable staff, a lovely period atmosphere, exclusive film starring Adrian Lukis, costume, dressing up, contemporary exhibits, maps and books.

We now have a beautiful waxwork of Jane Austen created by experts using forensic evidence.

All in all the Centre is the perfect starting point to an exploration of Jane Austen’s Bath.

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Jane Austen in the Digital Age: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

By Priyanka Chavda

Jane Austen’s influence has continued to grow since her publication in the 19th century, and one of the most loved novels, Pride and Prejudice has seen an array of adaptations from the 1995 BBC adaptation with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle to Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice. The attempt to re-connect with the author and her classic works, and open it to modern audience has taken a new direction.
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One such success was made by American video production company Pemberley Digital, who adapt classic works onto new media platforms. Utilising social media – Youtube, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest to name a few they open classic literature to a wider audience whilst telling an enriched and innovative story. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, introduces audiences to the well-loved characters from the novel but with a slight twist. Bernie Su and Hank Green, the creators have a wider scope, free from the costumes and Regency setting they are able to modernise Austen’s novel though the world of social media. Rejuvenating the novel whilst remaining faithful to the original the adaptation recaptures Austen and presents Pride and Prejudice in a whole new light.

The cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries connected with audiences through Twitter, Blogging and Youtube.
The cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries connected with audiences through Twitter, Blogging and Youtube.

Narrated by 24-year old graduate Elizabeth Bennett (played by Ashley Clements) from California, the series is a video diary on her life since completing college and moving back home, her overbearing mother, her relationship with sisters and Mr Darcy. Each 10 minute clip shows Elizabeth telling and re-enacting events such as her first meeting with the socially awkward and pretentious William Darcy to visiting her best friend Charlotte Lu (played by Julia Cho) in San Francisco.

The cast bring the characters to life and even though not all characters such as Mr and Mrs Bennet appear, they are still incorporated within the series through Elizabeth’s re-enactment of her parents and their traits. Lydia (played by Mary Kate Wilkes) almost steals the light from Elizabeth in several episodes with her loud personality whilst Jane (played by Laura Spencer) is quiet and gentle very much like in the novel. Each character even has their own Twitter page with in-character tweets through which they connect to audiences with as well as each other.

You can watch the entire series on Pemberley Digital's website.
You can watch the entire series on Pemberley Digital’s website.

The adaptation brings the novel to modern day audiences and uses it as a basis to create events which are relatable for younger audiences such as Elizabeth not wanting to join Mr Collins’s company instead opting to complete her studies and Mrs Bennet’s eagerness to get her daughters married is a reps one to the possible loss of their home. The series is successful in exploring the events of the novel in the modern day and is most definitely one of the best adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.

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With its success the Lizzie Bennet Diaries has won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in 2013, and has gone on to produce two books, one of which solely focuses on Lydia Bennet telling the story from her perspective.

Priyanka is an English Literature graduate, aspiring to be a writer and work in the film industry.

After the success of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Pemberley Digital has given Austen’s Emma and Sanditon similar treatment.

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Jane Austen Waxwork now in Bath England

Jane Austen WaxworkThe Amazing Jane Austen Waxwork at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath

Although not breaking news, we thought you’d be interested in this article about the Jane Austen Waxwork which has appeared in Wikipedia.

It contains lots of background info on the waxwork creation and the development of the original portrait by Melissa Dring.

For the full article in Wikipedia press here

Based upon the 2002 portrait, the wax figure’s creation was undertaken by the internationally-renowned portrait sculptor Mark Richards, who had previously created busts of Eric Cantona and Sir Arthur Marshall, as well as a full-life bronze of The Queen and Prince Philip. He was also responsible for designing the 2011 Royal Wedding five pound coin. During the three year process it took to create the Jane Austen figure, Richards worked closely with Melissa Dring, along with hair and color artist Nell Clarke, formerly of Madame Tussaud’s, and BAFTA award-winning designer Andrea Galer. The latter, dressing the completed figure in authentic period costume.