Dedicated Jane Austen lovers from far and wide will be flocking to Canberra from the 12th to the 15th of April for the annual Jane Austen Festival Australia (JAFA). Now in its seventh year, JAFA is a four day event organised by Earthly Delights Dance Academy. It revolves around the works of Jane Austen and the culture of her era, and incorporates seventeen different classes, workshops and lectures, fashion, theatre, eighteenth century pastimes and a whole lot of dancing.
This lecture will discuss the rise of the adaptation and the surfeit of books, television programmes and films that have been inspired by Austen's novels. Considering the many recent publications and serials superficially based on Austen's much-loved characters and narratives, writer and publisher Sophia Whitfield will address the question of whether these modern-day translations help to immortalise Austen and make her more accessible, or whether they detract from and desecrate the spirit of her stories.
It was apparently the beanie of Regency times, and you could well be sporting a saque hat of your own creation after attending this workshop. Group size is limited and there are a few bits and pieces you need to bring along, so check out the website before signing up.
Punches, Cordials and Refreshers Find out all about the favoured beverages of Jane Austen's era and learn to prepare a range of delicious drinks using authentic and traditional recipes by taking this interesting class.
Regency Variety Night and Dinner Dance Be entertained by a program of Regency-inspired dramatics with a range of theatrical performances, then dance the night away with a series of country dances, plus French, German and Scottish reels and formation dances popular from the times from Shakespeare to Austen. Those wanting to participate can sign up for the daytime dance classes, which will teach the steps to those wanting to cut a Regency rug.
Festival Country Fayre Browse the stalls, partake in a Devonshire Tea and try your hand at the archery competition at this Saturday afternoon interlude on the lawns of St John's Church.
Grand Evening Ball The pinnacle of the JAFA event, the Grand Ball brings together festival-goers bedecked in their period costume finery for a night of traditional music and dance. The dancing will include folk dance, Austrian and German imports and a few Austen family favourites. Morning dance classes are essential for those wanting to dance at the ball so ensure you get in early.
Costumed Promenade and House Party After a few fun activities at the Commonwealth Park Chess Board, the final day of the festival will conclude with an hour long promenade featuring over one hundred Regency-costumed amblers, a picnic and one last afternoon of dance.
See the website for various session times and full program details. Tickets can be purchased online and vary by activity. Full general JAFA season tickets are $265 plus booking fee for adults, with sales for these passes closing on the 9th of April.