An odyssey through the world of Jane Austen
With Austen Con (presented by 24 Carrot Productions) we see yet again that the pandemic has led to news ways of engaging the public in the performing arts. And what better way than to enjoy a transformative voyage into the world of Jane Austen? So, whether you were an aspiring Emma, Elizabeth, Mr Darcy, and Colonel Brandon you donned your best bonnets and top hats and joined the Jane Austen community for a day of food, fashion, fun and fantasy that is Austen Con 2020!
To be fully prepared for the days’ events, the best place to start was the marketplace at Mansfield Park where you could pick up a range of Jane Austen themed goods – from a “Who Killed Mr Collins” mystery game pack to Costumes by Adrienne and Noveltea Tins to name but a few.
The program kicked off at 9.00 am in the aptly named Pemberley and Netherfield cyber spaces with Austen’s Global Fashion Industry: Communities, Crime and Colonies, presented by Hilary Davidson who explored the development of international trade in the Austin era, how clothes were made, traded and smuggled. Segway to Jess’ recipe for Bath Buns using caraway seeds (native from western Asia).
In the Pemberley Room, sessions started with Love and Friendship: Exploring Austen’s Literary Legacy followed by Austen and Landscape exploring ideas of “Picturesque” English gardens and featured lovely landscape drawings. After a lunch break, the program featured Performing to Strangers (Reading Neurodivegrnece in Pride and Prejudice) – and my favourite session Austen-Twisted Cabaret and Burlesque – a eclectic group of performers showcasing Austin-inspired music and song. Cheerily sang along with Bradley Storer. Then grand finale Beginner Regency Dance, where Jane Bullockhad is prancing and spinning around our homes with an imaginary partner from Jane’s many male characters. After almost ninety minutes, we all really needed a sit down!
In the Netherfield Room participants could enjoy a hands-on session creating an Orange and Clove Pomander, English Paper Piercing and Austen’s Bath Buns with former MasterChef contestant Jess Jenkins. Yummy! Great for afternoon tea. Jess’ recipe, available as a download, and her easy to follow instructions means I will be heading to the kitchen to try my hand these soon. Then for some more theatrical fun and games there was Improvised Jane Austen and Choose you Own Austen Adaptation.
Those yearning that extra special Jane Austen experience could venture to the Escape Room in Rosings Park, into The Austen Absconsions to travel back to 1817, where only by solving the clues can you return to present day.
A big shout out to all those involved from 24 Carrot Productions whose creative efforts produced a wonderful day of entertainment and joy for all Jane Austen devotees.
Location: Online here
Dates: Saturday 7 November 2020
Times: 9.00am – 5.00 pm. Plus 48 hours after the live event
Duration: 8 hours
You can shop on line at any time on their Market Hub here.
You can donate a small amount each month to support 24 Carrot Productions through their Patreon here!