Huddersfield Literature Festival promotes interest in all things Regency
From the recent premiere of the film Emma to the 2017 release of the £10 bank note featuring an image of the Pride and Prejudice author, there has been renewed interest in the work of Jane Austen and all things Regency.
Now, 25 years since the BBC’s memorable adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, Huddersfield Literature Festival (19-29 March) is bringing the real Mr Wickham, actor Adrian Lukis, to the stage on Saturday 21 March 7pm at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.
Being Mr Wickham, sponsored by Longley Farm, allows Adrian to reprise his celebrated role and reveal what really happened between George Wickham and Mr Darcy. Set on the night of George’s 60th birthday he reminisces about the Bennett girls, his marriage to Lydia and his fractious relationship with Darcy. ‘We’re not all the villains of our own story’ he says, defending his version of events.
Adrian, who studied drama at Hull University, co-wrote the show with Huddersfield writer Catherine Curzon, historian and author of 18th century royal romps and romances:
“Catherine and I took Wickham’s story as presented in Pride and Prejudice and tried to give it greater depth, to fill in the blanks and of course, to exonerate Wickham of at least some of the accusations,” said Adrian. “I imagined how Wickham might defend himself, given the chance, and allowed him to reflect on the life he might have led. After all, we’re not the villains of our own story are we – it’s been a real labour of love.”
Catherine, who writes extensively for websites and publications, has just been nominated for Romantic Novel of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Besides her love of all things Georgian, Catherine also claims to be passionate about Eurovision and the mighty Huddersfield Town Football Club:
“It’s been a real honour to be able to continue the fate of Jane Austen’s most famous rogue and to see how audiences respond to it,” said Catherine. “The characters really are alive for the people who have read Pride and Prejudice and watched it on TV. It’s also fantastic to work with Adrian – I was 18 when I first saw him on the television and it’s wonderful to actually see the story you created come to life.”
Alongside Adrian’s show there is an opportunity to learn to dance like Mr Darcy with Regency ReJigged Dance Demonstration and Workshop at 3.30pm on Saturday 21 March also at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Audiences are invited to step back in time to try out some English Country Dance Room scenes of her novels and as seen in film and TV adaptations. Expert tuition and guidance will be provided with dancing to live music from 17th-19th century.
There will also be a showing of the film Becoming Jane on 20 March at the Ukranian Club in Huddersfield, starring Anne Hathaway as the spirited young Jane Austen and James McAvoy as the charming lawyer she falls in love with.
In other events the Festival plays host to Booker Prize-Winner, Bernardine Evaristo, who will be delivering the JB Priestley Lecture on 5 March in a special pre-festival evening. Strictly Come Dancing professional and bestselling novelist Anton Du Beke will appear at the Town Hall on 24 March, while ‘Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid will be talking about her latest electrifyingly suspenseful novel, How the Dead Speak, on 27 March.
Huddersfield Literature Festival is supported by Arts Council England and funding from the University of Huddersfield and local sponsors (Magic Rock, Stafflex, Wilkinson Woodward, Kirklees College, One 17 Charitable Trust, Sleigh & Story, Ravenhall Insurance and Longley Farm).
Tickets for Being Mr Wickham are £12 (concessions £10) and £7 (£5) for Regency RiJigged. Book both shows for £15 (concessions £12). Details of how to book can be found on the Festival website: www.huddlitfest.org.uk and most tickets can also be booked through the website.
Printed brochures are available in libraries, bookshops and other venues across the region.