Click here to learn more about Jane Austen Festival in general, and read on below about the program of events and speakers in 2012.
Jane Austen Festival Australia 2012 commenced on Thursday 12 April 2012 with a film-screening at the National Film & Sound Archives in Acton.
Thursday Night - Pride and Prejudice
Dir. Robert Z Leonard, USA, 1940, 118mins, B&W, 35mm, (G)
Filmed in beautiful black and white and starring Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier, this 1940 adaptation was critically well received in its day. The New York Times described the film as "the most deliciously pert comedy of old manners, the most crisp and crackling satire in costume that we in this corner can remember ever having seen on the screen." However, among aficionados this movie adaptation is notorious for drastically diverging from the original novel, not least being the the period of dress. For added interest Aldous Huxley served as one of the screenwriters. 7pm Arc cinema, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, McCoy Circuit, Acton
Friday 13 April was filled with choice of daytime sewing workshops, dance classes and talks, and an evening of theatrical and musical entertainment.
Friday Night - Regency Variety Night!
An evening of various pleasures! From improvised dramatic performances, to singing, display dances, musical numbers and scripted performances – all with a Regency flavour! A regency soiree with a 21st century twist. Light supper was provided at interval.
Saturday 14 April featured another smogasboard of workshops, class and talk choices, a country fayre, archery and the Grand Festival Ball.
Saturday Daytime - Festival Country Fayre: Nestled on the beautiful lawns of St Johns Church was an opportunity to purchase a good book or join in the archery. Additional stalls included haberdashers and milliners as well as devonshire teas, bbq and delicious cakes.
Saturday Night - Jane Austen Festival Ball: We relived the romance and frivolity of Regency times with a grand ball complete with candlelight, regency treats and traditional live music. Light supper was provided at interval.
Sunday 15 April
Costumed Promenade & Jane Austen House Party Join over 100 people dressed in Regency costume for this spectacular feature of the Festival. Departing from the Commonwealth Park Chess Board, the promenade takes about one hour and finishes nearby for a regency potluck picnic. This is followed by a Jane Austen House Party with dances linked to her family plus your requests; interspersed with several guest speakers and a special afternoon tea. The festival finishes at 5pm, when everyone is invited to join friends from around the country celebrating the festival director's 40th birthday at a dance from 5.30pm-8.30pm in the main hall.
TALKS & CLASSES (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
Regency Dance Workshops, all day Friday 13 and Saturday 14 April (plus a pre-festival English Dance Week 10, 11 & 12 April)
In preparation for the Jane Austen Festival Ball on Saturday 14 April 2012 these dance workshops are an ideal opportunity to get to know or become better acquainted with some of the dance steps and dances. It is not necessary to wear costume but comfortable smooth-soled shoes are essential. The first sessions of the day on Friday &/or Saturday are necessary if you wish to dance at the ball.
Punches, Cordials & Refreshers
Explore the variety of flavoursome & thought-to-be wholesome beverages enjoyed in Jane Austen's times. We will prepare liquid treats to serve at supper, based on authentic Regency and traditional recipes.
In 1812 Maria MacArthur was about to embark on a challenging and new-life's role in the Australian colony - as bride-to-be she would beanaging her own domestic empire. A benevolent Aunt sent her a detailed letter from England advising her on all manner of household matters, including instructions on how to host sociable dinners and parties. Today we examine her catering repertoire to gain a insight into Regency tastes culinary and social!
Marriage a la Mode
The two best-known letters in Jane Austen's novels come from Captain Wentworth and Mr Darcy. One is leading up to a marriage proposal and the other is after a rejected proposal. Each was hand-delivered as young women did not receive letters from men to whom they were not engaged .. which made things a bit difficult! But marriage in Regency times was full of pitfalls, what with banns and special licences, dowries, settlements and jointures ... but is it really any easier nowadays?
Txting Austen - the challenge of converting letters to performance
How does a screenwriter or playwright deal with letters when adapting a novel to stage and screen? What are their options when letters carry so much important information? The session will offer not only an outline with examples of how various writers have handled this but also a fun hands-on approach! Adaptations and transformations offer all sorts of approaches limited only by the imagination!
The novels in the letters
What can we find out about the writing, publication and reception of the novels from reading Jane Austen's letters?
Jane Austen's novels in contemporary society
In recent years we have seen a proliferation of novels loosely based on Jane Austen's work. Bridget Jones' Diary and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to name a few. Harper Collins have just commissioned a new series based on Jane Austen's work. Well known novelist Joanna Trollope will be rewriting Sense and Sensibility. Five more authors will be chosen to rewrite Austen's other novels. Sophia will speak about these modern rewrites and discuss whether they enhance or hinder Austen's work?
Jane Austen in Wales
Did Jane Austen ever visit Wales? A letter from her niece Anna to her half-brother suggests the family went there.
What would they be doing? What was Wales like in Regency times?
Music in the life of a Regency family
We often know about the musical greats of a particular era, but how much relevance did they have for their contemporaries? Was a musical education really a sign of a well-schooled young lady? Did gentlemen do any music study as a general rule? Did every good home have a pianoforte, and how often was it used? And in what stead were professional musicians held in society? Taking Jane Austen's letters as a starting point, this seminar will present samples of popular music of the time and a discussion of the role it played in everyday life in Regency England.
DANCE PROGRAM with Dr John Gardiner-Garden
9:15-10:30 The Austen era country dance—an introduction to 'the felicities of rapid motion'.
11:00-12:15 We're not at war with Paris—the French dances enjoyed in Austen's England.
1:30-2:45 The new craze from Scotland and what Darcy meant when he mentioned the reel.
3:15-4:30 The knotty German dance—the salsa of the Regency era.
EVENING VARIETY NIGHT & DINNER DANCE - Dances drawn from daytime repertoire.
9:15-10:30 So tonight we' gonna party like it's 1799—What you need to know to fudge the ball.
11:00-12:30 Dances that went to the music and names in the Austen family manuscripts.
1:30-2:45 Imports from Austria and Russia—including the Duke of Devonshire's favourite.
3:15-4:30 The easy minuet of the day—and howit became a folk dance.
GRAND EVENING BALL - Dances drawn from daytime repertoire.
11am-ish, Chess pit in Commonwealth Park - The 32 person Chess dance—a hit in 2011—& other fun dances.
3:15-5:00pm Church Hall- 'It's a hard set that doesn't ask for more'—a Jane Austen House party with dances linked to her family plus your requests.
LIMITED ATTENDANCE WORKSHOPS (require pre-booking)
Ticket holders are invited to pre-register for classes, numbering the classes they are interested in order of preference. Classes are then allocated according to remaining availability. To ensure that you register for your first preferences next year we invite you to purchase a "friend" membership, as Friends receive first notification of classes each October.
Dr John Gardiner-Garden
is a dance teacher, researcher, choreographer and musician with over 20 years experience teaching, leading and playing for Regency (and other) era dancing, and with many dance books and recordings to his credit. He is the artistic director of Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy and leader of the band Earthly Delights.
is the first official Town Crier for the ACT. Appointed in July 2011, he is carrying out a role that is, in today's terms, ceremonial rather than part of daily life as it was in former times. He is a member of a medieval re-enactment group, and has performed the duites of a Herald at a number of the group's activities.
is an events coordinator and self-stitched costume historian, seamstress and dancer. She is a member of the Australian Costumers Guild, American Costume Society and is the Director of Jane Austen Festival Australia. In 2009 & 2011 she travelled overseas to study historical clothing construction and attend historical costume conferences in the UK, US and Denmark.
holds a Masters in Gastronomy. She currently works as a guide at Vaucluse & Elizabeth Bay Houses and runs a series of Colonial Gastronomy programs for Historic Houses Trust NSW. Jacqui guest lectures in Food Across Cultures at Macquarie University (Anthropolgy) and holds regular Spice Appreciation classes at Herbie's Spices in Sydney.
is a member of the Jane Austen Society of Aust. and lectures on Jane Austen for U3A and for the library system. She agrees with her favourite author that 'to be fond of dancing is a certain step towards falling in love', and is delighted to find a conference that combines both pleasures.
has written 9 full length plays – which have enjoyed seasons in Australia and overseas. There have been 5 adaptations to the stage : Pride & Prejudice; Les Liaisons Dangereuses ,The Scarlet Pimpernel and Sense & Sensibility. Original works include Pipe Dreams; Gentlemen Incorporated (optioned for film), Cry,Wolf (Honorable Mention New York New Works of Merit Playwriting Competition 2003 and performed in New York at 13th St Repertory Co.)The Jocasta Complexity and The Making of Elizabeth. The Storm Sisters is being developed for a television series. Deborah has also produced and directed over 15 plays including: Don's Party; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Arsenic and Old Lace; Blithe Spirit; Valentino – The Musical; Julius Caesar; Whose Life is it Anyway?; Butterflies are Free; Harlequinade; Goodbye Charlie; Macbeth and The Fantastics . Not limited to the writer/director role, Deborah has, at times, practised what she preached! Early roles included Raina in Arms and the Man, Kate in Taming of the Shrew and Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Most recently, she sank her teeth into Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Believing that writing, like life, is a never-ending learning experience, Deborah is involved in many aspects of artist development. From The International playwright's Symposium in Italy, to successfully training actors for schools such as Stella Adler in New York , there have also been involvement with Cambridge University (England) Footlights Revue ; The Illawarra Council for the Performing Arts ; Wollongong Workshop Theatre; Ars Viva ; Playworks, Parnassus Den, Arcadians Theatre Group, Roo Theatre Company, Factory Space Theatre Company, New Theatre; Crash Test Drama and Writers' Anon. In addition, Deborah was a founding member of Lake Theatre Group and Parramatta Theatre Company. For more information, go to Deb's website: deborahmulhall.com
Since completing the Advanced Certificate in Garment Design and Construction in the 1980's, Lynne has many years experience in drafting, and constructing, clothing and costumes for both men and women. It's only since her involvement in historical recreation societies in the 90's that her interest in research (for accurate detail) came about. Though her main interest is historical reproduction, she has also made costumes/clothing from Science Fiction, Fantasy and pop culture genres. She has also studied millinery and was taught to knit, crochet and embroider as a child. She is currently the National President of the Australian Costumers' Guild, which has given her the opportunity to travel to different states around Australia to share her knowledge.
Gabriel & Matthew Bieniek
Gabriel Bieniek is a classically trained soprano who studied at the University of Wollongong and Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She continues to perform a wide variety of music from the Renaissance to C20th, both as a soloist & ensemble member. She has also lectured & tutored in Music History at both the Sydney Conservatorium & Australian Institute of Music, and is a great believer in history assisting in musical appreciation and understanding. She lives in Canberra, has 2 young children and teaches Singing part-time. Matthew Bieniek is a composer and pianist, and a Masters graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He is a represented composer through the Australian Music Centre, and in 2003 was awarded the ISCM-CASH Young Composer Award, with a commission for the Gaudeamus Music Week 2005 in Amsterdam. He has taught both piano and composition, but currently works for the AEC in Canberra, and composes and plays in his spare time. Despite the challenge of having 2 young children, Matthew & Gabriel have regularly performed in concert together over the years, for organisations such as the Bathurst and Redlands Arts Councils, and the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music. They enjoy presenting musical programs of their own choice and design.
is a long time Jane Austen enthusiast with an Arts degree from University of Sydney. She has always been interested in social history and this particular time period is fascinating in it's high rate of change. Sam also enjoys writing, acting and costuming.
is the co-owner and publisher at New Frontier Publishing. New Frontier publishes quality children's books that uplift, inspire and educate. In her spare time she writes under the pen name of Alex Field. She has written numerous articles about children- she has five - and books. In October 2011 her first book was released. Mr Darcy is a children's picture book about a well mannered, but slightly pompous duck.