On Saturday 4 November, a special event at Liverpool’s Central Library will show audiences what it would be like if Jane Austen had a Twitter account!
In a show entitled Thrills and Quills, professional theatre company LipService, once called “Britain’s favourite literary lunatics” by The Guardian, will take a comic look at Jane Austen’s letters, examine the vagaries of the Georgian postal system and wonder what witty words Jane could have conjured up with a Twitter account. They will examine the world of communication from quill pen to SnapChat. With extracts from Jane Austen’s novels, letters to family members and wickedly funny observations on her neighbours, the show will look at the vivid account Jane conjures of everyday life.
There is also the chance to write a letter about what it is like to live in the North West in a series of events across the region’s libraries this year.
‘The Travelling Letter Exchange’ is a touring letter writing bureau designed by artist Laura Jamieson. She invites you to sit down, write a letter and create a new archive of letters that shows what it is like to live in the North West in 2017. The bureau celebrates the art of letter writing. Everyone who writes a letter will receive a letter in return from another participant. A selection of the letters will be published in e-book form in early 2018. The bureau is a contemporary specially commissioned piece of furniture inspired by what Jane Austen could have used, with artwork linked to the Jane Austen House Museum in Hampshire.
The project is jointly funded by the Arts Council England “Grants for the Arts” lottery-funded grants programme and Time To Read. Time To Read is a unique partnership of 22 library authorities in the North West working together to promote reading.
Sue Ryding of LipService said “”LipService are delighted to be working with Time to Read and to explore the world of correspondence from quill pen to autocorrect”
Laura Jamieson said “Jane Austen is obviously famous for her books, but many people don’t now about her prolific letter writing that documented the minutia of her everyday life. These letters now act as documents that give us an insight into the passions and interests of society in the 1800’s. In response to today’s environment of digital communications where we can be in contact with someone on the other side of the world instantly, but also where we don’t keep or cherish our conversation, the letter exchange is an invitation to sit for a while, reflect on your life in 2017 and commit your thoughts to paper.”
The Strategic Lead for Time To Read, Ian Anstice, said “This is a great example of what libraries can achieve if they work together. The idea of one library in every authority putting on a top-notch show and having a first-rate interactive display as well, is fantastic and I know that everyone, not just Jane Austen fans, will gain something from it.”
Writing a letter at the bureau is free but there may be a charge for the “Thrills and Quills” show, depending on the library authority.
The event will take place on Saturday 4 November at 2pm, in Central Library’s Hornby Library. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased at the library.