The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Webster University and the Jane Austen Society of North America’s St. Louis region have teamed up to announce a Jane Austen Festival, running December 6-8 throughout Webster University’s campus.
Featuring a packed activity schedule that includes an incredible roster of Austen scholars, the event will celebrate and illuminate Austen’s writings, as well as the literary, cultural and historical world in which her stories took place.
The festival coincides with The Rep’s production of Pride and Prejudice, which will kick off the festivities with its opening night performance at 8 p.m. December 6.
“Generation after generation continues to discover Jane Austen and fall in love with her bold, charismatic female protagonists,” said Hana S. Sharif, The Rep’s Augustin Family Artistic Director, who will also direct The Rep’s Pride and Prejudice. “I cannot wait to experience this festival alongside the entire St. Louis community – from longtime Austenites to new readers.”
"Jane Austen offers something to every kind of person,” said Sheila Hwang, chair of Webster University’s English Department. “When new generations enter and enjoy Austen's world, they learn very quickly that she provides keen insights into people and their complex relationships – insights that continue to have relevance to our lives today."
The Webster University English Department, The Rep and the Jane Austen Society of North America are sponsoring this program in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The MHC has awarded a grant of $10,000 to the Webster University English Department in support of the festival. The MHC is the only statewide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971. The Jane Austen Society of North America is also supporting the festival with a grant.
Here’s an overview of what to expect at the event. All events are free unless noted:
Friday, December 6:
• 8 p.m.: Opening night performance of Pride and Prejudice at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Tickets start at $28.
Saturday, December 7:
• Discussion with show director Hana S. Sharif and playwright Christopher Baker.
• Susan Allen Ford of Delta State University presents a talk on Austen’s attitudes toward clothing.
• Cathy Reilly of St. Louis Community College gives a talk on Regency-era clothing.
• Backstage tours of The Rep.
• Tea treat baking classes presented by The London Tea Room ($15/person).
• 4 p.m.: Matinee performance of Pride and Prejudice at The Rep. Tickets start at $28.
• 7 to 9 p.m.: An opulent Regency Ball, including Regency dance lessons, music and calling by Childgrove Country Dancers.
• 7 to 9 p.m.: A card playing room, featuring various period card games taught by Jane Austen Society of North America members.
Sunday, December 8:
• Linda Troost of Washington & Jefferson College and Sayre Greenfield of University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg discuss the history of Pride and Prejudice adaptations.
• Short talks from a panel of Jane Austen scholars.
• Afternoon tea, including a presentation from Pride and Prejudice costume designer Dottie Marshall Englis.
• 2 and 7 p.m.: Matinee and evening performances of Pride and Prejudice at The Rep. Tickets start at $24.
For more information on the festival, visit repstl.org.
For more information about the grants program of the Missouri Humanities Council, call 314-781-9660 or 800-357-0909 or write to the MHC, 415 S. 18th Street, Suite 100, St. Louis, MO 63103-2269.
Friday, December 6 at 8:00pm
Saturday, December 7 at 4:00pm to 9:00pm
Sunday, December 8 at 2:00pm to 9:00pm
Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
130 Edgar Road, 63119