Professor Judith Hawley and Dr Elaine McGirr are on an artistic crusade, along with a long line of public intellectuals, to revive the lost art of home staged plays. This forgotten art form was once a fashionable and sociable way of entertaining guests, and with the help of a £5,000 grant from the Research Strategy Fund and contributions from the Departments of English and Drama we could soon be reliving the entertainment.
A symposium is being held next month with the hope of staging a performance by Royal Holloway students. A further conference will be organised for June 2011 where the cultural significance of amateur dramatics will be analysed.
In a re-enactment of an event that took place back in 1803, a makeshift theatre at Chawton House in Hampshire will be host to a practical exploration on December 10th. This stately manor, once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, is a literary institution and the perfect mix of the domestic and artistic, with Professor Hawley stating: ‘recapturing the spirit of amateur drama, this performance will bring both history and the house itself back to life.’
This project is breathing new life not only into forgotten art forms but forgotten pieces of literary art. For more information on the performance on December 10th and the symposium December 11th contact Professor Hawley.