Festival to mark work of Jane Austen 200 years after death

Karin Fernald
Karin Fernald

The 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death is being marked with a new £10 note, out in September, and by a series of Jane Austen-focused events at the Rye Arts Festival.

The 46th annual Rye Arts Festival, between September 16 and October 1, offers around 60 events across the arts from classical music, through literary talks to drama and film. And the festival’s celebration of arguably the country’s greatest author is also across different forms of art.

The first event is on Sunday, September 17 at 7pm in Rye Community Centre, where the audience will be treated to a one-woman-show by Karin Fernald called Jane Austen – The Early Years.

Karin plays an older Jane looking back at her early years when, as a child and young woman, she was already honing her writing skills. Jane also wrote short novels and plays, none of which were ever meant for publication. Karin reads from these works offering comments from the older woman who recognises her teenage writing faults but still has great enjoyment in her own budding skills.

This play provides a fascinating insight into the author. Karin is being flown to Australia by the country’s Jane Austen Society to perform the play, so Rye can be assured this is a world-class theatre offering.

The next day, at 3pm on Monday, September 18, Terri Fleming will be giving a talk at The Mermaid Inn. Terri has written a hugely entertaining novel called Perception, which is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Terri picks up on the Bennett family a few years after the end of Pride and Prejudice, which finished with three of the sisters being married. Terri focuses on the bookish and seemingly somewhat plain Mary, who appears destined to ‘be left on the shelf’, and her younger sister Kitty.

Terri hits the tone of the original novel brilliantly as we see how the Bennett family story develops.

The film programme this year also marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen with a screening of the movie Clueless at 8pm on Thursday, September 1 at the Kino.

This film, starring a young Alicia Silverstone, sees the Emma story reworked and set in 1995 Beverley Hills where Cher seeks to organise people’s lives.

To find out more about these and the other 60 events in this year’s festival, as well as to book tickets online, go to www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk or call 01797 224442.