Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Living Jane Austen

Louisville, Kentucky Annual Jane Austen Festival

It is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. In honor of such an occasion, Novel Travelist will be offering travel itineraries for all of Jane Austen’s beloved novels.

If you are able to travel to England this year, here are a few Jane Austen festival dates to tantalize your trip planning.

Bath, England

The Netherfield Ball, however not in Hertfordshire, but in Bath. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013, 6:30 – 11pm.

The ball is a costumed event  in the style of the Regency, late 18th century. Women’s attire is actually comfortable - the gowns have a high waist, just below the bust. Men get to wear tight breeches with button panels and flattering coats with long tails.

And yes, there is dancing. There is so much dancing that a “Pre-Ball Dance Workshop” is offered just prior to the ball (1:45 – 4:15pm). This particular year, to honor Pride & Prejudice, they hope to dance Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot; that is the version that was danced in the Netherfield Ball in the BBC 1995 adaptation. Go dust off that DVD because this is a very complicated dance.   

There is an Annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath every September.
Sept. 13 – 21, 2013
Tickets available in July.

The jovial Festival features costumed promenades, talks, tours and theatrical performances throughout Bath. The festival usually ends with a performance by the Jane Austen Dancers. (No giggling. Be honest, you know you harbor a secret desire to be a Jane Austen Dancer.)

Louisville, Kentucky

The 6th Annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville is HUGE! 
July 20 – 21, 2013
10am – 5pm

Includes Regency Emporium, the Shoppes of Meryton, music, entertainment (play, bare knuckle boxing, fencing & duel), Four Course Afternoon Tea, workshops, a Grand Ball and Regency promenade on Saturday to break the Guinness Book World Record number of people in Regency attire. (So… Were the Guinness Record people not around during the Regency era?)

Here’s a calendar of Jane Austen events around the world, including in Ireland, Australia, Czech Republic, Maryland, North Carolina, Minneapolis, and Louisville, Kentucky.

(Who knew Austen was so popular in Louisville?)

In the LA area:

Jane Austen Unscripted is currently running in the Carrie Hamilton theater at the Pasadena Playhouse through April 14. Tickets are $25 and the best deal in town. I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. This is a reminder of what theater should be. 

It’s an entirely improvised play, in the style of a Jane Austen story, all based around an audience suggestion, like “Kidney Pie,” or “Purple Ribbon.” The ensemble is brilliant and they miraculously bring about a marriage with every show. If you’re an Austen fan – this is a must. Even if you’re not an Austen fan – this is a must. Just go!

They also offer improv workshops for normal people, and yep, Wes & I signed up! I’m a scientist with horrible stage freight, so this should be amusing.

For those not able to travel this year:

Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster is a Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure. It’s excellent, silly fun. You play Elizabeth Bennet, and your adventure begins in Pride and Prejudice, but your decisions along the way will lead you into the plots of Austen’s other works. I escaped Mr. Darcy, rejected Colonel Brandon, and ran off with Willoughby only to have him killed in a horrible carriage accident. 

If you'd like to visit Pemberley, Mansfield Park, or other great homes, I (Sara McBride) will be posting travel itineraries through out March. 

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