Saturday, 6 September 2014

Austen's Women - An Evening of Austen Drama and Delight

Directed by Olivier Award winner, Guy Masterson, 'Austen's Women' is a show not to be missed this September at the Draoicht Theatre, in Blanchardstown, Dublin.  It stars Rebecca Vaughan, whose celebrated dramatic interpretation of some of Austen's finest female characters has  received rave reviews all round. We know that it is a 'must see' event for all Austen fans.

Tickets are selling fast, and if you want to avoid disappointment, you must book soon.  There is a special concession for members of The Jane Austen Society of Ireland, so don't delay and book your tickets for this sell-out show today!

Thirteen of Jane Austen’s heroines come to life in this bold revisiting of some of literature’s most celebrated works. In this much-loved Edinburgh sell-out hit, using only Austen’s words, Rebecca Vaughan  becomes Emma Woodhouse, Lizzy Bennet, Mrs Norris, Miss Bates and nine other beautifully observed women in critical moments from Austen’s major novels (including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma) and lesser known or unfinished works.

There will also be a after show talk with Rebecca Vaughan, so you will have a chance to ask all those interesting questions that I know JASI members are famous for.
Remember the date - Wednesday 24th September.  See you there!
Phone: DraĆ­ocht’s Box Office is Open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm  Tel: 01-8852622:

Friday, 15 August 2014

Jane Austen at Covent Garden

Here is something that some of you living in or visiting London this weekend might be interested in:  an afternoon concert celebrating Jane Austen.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Austen Project - Book Two

Here's a taste of something old / something new to entertain you this summer. Bestselling crime author, Val McDermid ('Fever on the Bone' and 'The Vanishing Point') has published the second book in The Austen Project - modern re-imagining of the Gothic Classic 'Northanger Abbey'. If you enjoyed reading Joanna Trollope's version of 'Sense and Sensibility' last year, you might like to give this book a try. Here's what the publishers have to say about it:

'Seventeen-year-old Catherine ‘Cat’ Morland has led a sheltered existence in rural Dorset, a life entirely bereft of the romance and excitement for which she yearns. So when Cat’s wealthy neighbours, the Allens, invite her to the Edinburgh Festival, she is sure adventure beckons.

Edinburgh initially offers no such thrills: Susie Allen is obsessed by shopping, Andrew Allen by the Fringe. A Highland Dance class, though, brings Cat a new acquaintance: Henry Tilney, a pale, dark-eyed gentleman whose family home, Northanger Abbey, sounds perfectly thrilling. And an introduction to Bella Thorpe, who shares her passion for supernatural novels, provides Cat with a like-minded friend. But with Bella comes her brother John, an obnoxious banker whose vulgar behaviour seems designed to thwart Cat’s growing fondness for Henry.

Happily, rescue is at hand. The rigidly formal General Tilney invites her to stay at Northanger with son Henry and daughter Eleanor. Cat’s imagination runs riot: an ancient abbey, crumbling turrets, secret chambers, ghosts…and Henry! What could be more deliciously romantic?

But Cat gets far more than she bargained for in this isolated corner of the Scottish Borders. The real world outside the pages of a novel proves to be altogether more disturbing than the imagined world within…'

With such an excellent plot to follow - how can McDermid go wrong?  If you have read it, let us know what you think.  
The book costs €14.87 on the book depository (free postage) and $10.82 on Kindle Amazon.com).

Monday, 21 July 2014

Gone Too Soon - Jane's last day.

At the dawn of Friday July 18th 1817  the wonderful Jane Austen departed this life. She had moved ,with her beloved sister Cassandra, from Chawton to Winchester in May of that year. The family hoped that Mr. Giles King Lyford, the much respected Surgeon-in- Ordinary at the County Hospital there,  would manage to cure Jane of what might have been Addison's Disease or possibly some form of cancer. The two Austen ladies stayed at 8 College Street, Winchester, where they occupied rooms on the first floor.
Though Jane appeared cheerful and comfortable on the morning of Tuesday July 15th - as shown in the amusing verses she composed about St. Swithin  and Winchester Races - her illness became more severe  that evening.
The last few hours of Jane's life and of her death are recorded in a letter Cassandra sent to her niece Fanny Knight
"Since Tuesday evening, when her complaint returned, there was a visible change, she slept more & much more comfortably... Her looks altered &she fell away... tho' I was then hopeless of a recovery I had no suspicion how rapidly my loss was approaching..She felt herself to be dying about half an hour before she became tranquil and apparently unconscious... When I asked her if there was any thing she wanted, her answer was she wanted nothing but death & some of her words were 'God grant me patience, Pray for me'....  even now in her coffin, there is such a sweet serene air over her countenance as is quite pleasant to contemplate"
'Jane Austen was happy in her family and in her home and the exercise of her great talent must have been a source of happiness. She was learning to feel confidence in her own success... She had no cause to be weary of life and there was much to make it very pleasant to her' (quoted in Fanny Knight's Diaries)
How many more wonderful stories might have come from the pen of Jane Austen but for her tragically early death.

Monday, 7 July 2014

A House for Jane

On July 7th 1809 Jane Austen, her mother, her sister Cassandra and their friend Martha Lloyd moved from Southampton to Chawton in Hampshire. Their new home, known as Chawton Cottage, was offered to his widowed mother and sisters by Edward Austen Knight.  
What a gift - it must have meant everything to the women who, like so many of Austen's heroines, were so reliant on the kindness and goodwill of male relatives. 

It was here that Jane Austen prepared "Sense and Sensibility", " Pride and Prejudice" and "Northanger Abbey" for publication and where she wrote "Mansfield Park", " Emma" and "Persuasion".  As Virginia Woolf would write one hundred years later, having a room of her own, a place to write in, made all the difference to Jane.  Freed from the mundane daily chores, taken care of now by her sister Cassandra, Jane Austen found the space and time to focus on her writing and perfect her art.  

Jane Austen was very happy to return to her beloved Hampshire. Writing  to her brother Frank on July 26th 1809 Jane says:


"Our Chawton home how much we find
Already in it to our mind
And how convinced that when complete
It will all other houses beat
That ever have been made or mended
With rooms concise or rooms distended"

In 1949 the house was donated to the Jane Austen Society (founded by Dorothy Darnell of Alton) by T. Edward  Carpenter , who had bought the house in memory of his son who was killed in World War Two. 

The house was opened as Jane Austen's House Museum in 1949. In it can be seen, among many items of Austen memorabilia, the little mahogany writing table where Jane sat while writing her wonderful works of literature.

A great place for any Austen fan to visit!

By Eileen Collins

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

An Austen Summer Sensation Awaits!

Here is an Austen event you will not want to miss!  The excellent Chapterhouse Theatre Company returns to Ireland this summer, with a fine production of  'Sense and Sensibility'.  The kind people at Malahide Castle have offered our members a special discount on ticket price - adult entry for €15 instead of €17.  I will be emailing you all about the discount code to use when securing tickets over the phone, in the coming days.

As usual, the production involves an outdoor evening performance of Austen's novels, especially adapted into a live theatre performance,
The audience usually enters into the spirit of the evening, bringing their own seating and beverages, sharing picnics and cosy blankets, if last year was anything to go by.  t is advised that you keep an eye on weather forecasts close to the event.  As one of the actors explained at last year's show; 'If it rains, it rains, and we get wet too!'

The tour begins in Limerick on Sunday 20th July, at King John's Castle, then plays at Wells House and Gardens in County Wexford, on Tuesday 22nd July, and ends in Malahide Castle on Sunday 27th July at 7:30.  You can book on the Chapterhouse website at http://www.chapterhouse.org/show4.html for all shows, except the Malahide performance, for which you have to phone the venue to make a booking. The number there is (01) 8169538. (Don't forget to give the JASI discount code for a reduced ticket price).
Some of us were lucky enough to see this production last year, so we can heartily recommend that you make every effort to come along this year too.

Ticket prices: Adult €17 Child €12 Family €48 (2 adults & 2 Children). Call 01 8169538 to book your tickets

Sunday 20th July - 6:30 pm King John's Castle, Limerick, Phone: 061 711246
Tuesday 22nd July - 7:30 pm Wells House, Gorey, Co. Wexford phone: 0539186737
Sunday 27th July - 7:30 pm Malahide Castle CO Dublin phone: 01 8169538

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A New Austen Oldie ~ Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Mansfield Park'.

Just two days to go to the airing of a BBC 4, radioplay /adaptation of Austen's 'Mansfield Park'.  Originally recorded in 2003, the old tapes have been dusted-off and gotten ready for a new audience, who will surely find the broadcast even more exciting than the first time around, as leading actor, playing the morally incorruptible Edmund Bertram, is none other than the now very popular, Benedict Cumberbatch.  David Tennant is to play profligate gambler and elder brother, Tom Bertram, which guarantees that this is a radio broadcast not to be missed.

So, radios at the ready one and all!

The 2003 adaptation of Mansfield Park was directed by Sally Avens and originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the Woman's Hour Drama slot


Cast
Felicity Jones - Fanny Price
Tim Pigott-Smith - Sir Thomas Bertram
Liza Sadovy - Lady Bertram
David Tennant - Tom
Benedict Cumberbatch - Edmund
Kate Fleetwood - Maria
Julia McKenzie - Mrs. Norris
Toby Jones - Rushworth
James Callis - Henry
Susan Lynch - Mary

The ten episode dramatisation of Mansfield Park can be heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra beginning on Monday 12th May at 2.00pm BST and continuing at the same time every weekday for two weeks.
Click HERE to hear it.