Exciting news if you love musical theatre, have a passion for performing and have always wanted to be Jane Austen. Producers Daniel Taylor-Brown and Justin Eade have announced that they’re looking for an actress to play Jane Austen in the UK tour of Austen the Musical.
Austen the Musical explores Jane’s struggle to have her work published in a male dominated environment, her romances, and her vow to reject a woman’s lifestyle in Georgian England. Following extended runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and sell-out performances at the Jane Austen Festival and York New Musical Festival, the new musical by Rob Winlow is heading nationwide on its 2017/18 UK Tour from October 2017 – only it’s currently lacking it’s leading lady!
So, interested in playing Jane Austen from age 20-41? We thought a few of you in our Jane Austen News readership might be. To apply, the producers are asking for a CV, headshot, covering letter, and details of your vocal range to be sent to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. More info can be found at the listing here on artsjobs.org.uk.
At the Jane Austen News we love reading about other fans of Austen, so we really enjoyed finding out a bit more about these Jane Austen superfans as featured in an article in the Guardian this week:
Roland Anderson, 44, finance director, London:
“It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started getting into Austen. My friend Mark kept going on about Pride And Prejudice, so I reread it, then worked my way through the rest of the novels, plus anything I could get my hands on: the letters, the unfinished novels. Once I read a boyfriend Pride And Prejudice as a bedtime story. It doesn’t take as long as you think – 20 nights at two or three chapters a night. He really liked it, even if the relationship didn’t last.”
Nili Olay, 72, and Jerry Vetowich, 80, members of the Jane Austen Society of North America:
Jerry – “I love the dressing-up, I admit – I’ve got four costumes, including a redcoat and an admiral, and Nili has several gowns. They look pretty authentic. Of course, we don’t dress up for the regular meetings, just the balls, but it’s great to see people in their finery.”
Mira Magdo, 31, blogger, Cambridge:
“Four years ago, I moved to England to be close to Jane – it sounds weird but it’s true. Each year, there’s a big festival in Bath. One year, I was there and Adrian Lukis, who played Wickham in the BBC version, was there too, and I had the idea of trying to meet every major cast member.”
Are you an Austen superfan on this level? We have to say, it was great to see so many of these fans visiting us in Bath for the photoshoot!
The full article can be read here.
There’s been a fair bit of concern (but also excitement) at the news that a new TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is on the cards for 2020 – a new adaptation that the production’s writer says will show ‘the darker side’ of Austen’s book. With this concern for the integrity of the book fresh in the minds of Austen fans, Verily magazine published a most welcome article this week reminding us that not all deviations are bad.
Some of the positive deviations from the book included Darcy’s rain-drenched proposal in the 2005 P&P film, Mr Darcy’s bathtub scene in the 1995 mini series, and, naturally, Mr Darcy’s wet shirt scene from the same miniseries.
However, we were also reminded of a few less welcome changes. A few of these were from the 1940 film version of Pride and Prejudice. For example: the wildly inaccurate costumes, the horse and carriage race between the Bennets and the Lucases, and the kind and understanding Lady Catherine!
We read the article, were reminded of the versions which we had chosen to forget, and remembered that it would all be OK in the end, because after all, if the new production of Pride and Prejudice is less than favorable, we will always always have Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle’s stellar performances to fall back on!
We came across an article by journalist Frances Wilson this week which surprised us somewhat. Her article focused on the lack of literature which explores the menopausal women – women “caught in the midst of their own reckless years, burning-up, drying-out, death-obsessed and wondering whether they will ever desire, or be desired again”.
Wilson argues that there are plenty of novels and discussions in everyday life about men’s midlife crises, but the female equivalent in the last taboo. All is not lost though. Jane Austen is one author who, Wilson said, does write about menopausal women.
Look at Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, locked inside her high anxiety and lack of purpose, Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park, passed out on the sofa for reasons unexplained…
…Jane Austen, who died aged 42, may have been through the menopause herself – it often comes earlier to childless women – and Mansfield Park, darker, angrier and less forgiving than her other works, reads like that fictional unicorn, a menopausal novel.
That got us at the Jane Austen News to thinking – was Mansfield Park really a menopausal novel as this article makes out?
After some consideration, we were left unconvinced, but we do like Wilson’s argument that it would be nice to see more menopausal seize-the-day female characters in novels and that, currently, there’s a bit of a lack.
Horem Gul, a teenager who arrived in Nottingham from Pakistan a year ago learned her English in what is possibly the most enjoyed way we’ve ever come across. She, her mum, and her younger sister, came to England to join her father, who’s been working in the UK for the past ten years. The family came with very little English. Happily Jane Austen (and Colin Firth) were happy to help…
“We all came together about a year ago. We watched a lot of movies which helped us adapt and I got my English from the movies like Pride and Prejudice!”
Horem has since had fantastic exam results despite the newness of the language. She achieved two A and three B grade A levels! A great example of how Austen is inspiring women to achieve great things in their lives even all these years after her death.
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