Wrapped up in a £10 Note

I’m not sure how many UK based readers I have on this blog, or how many of you have been following the controversy over the next £5 in the UK. Basically, on the back of every note, there is a picture of a historical figure whose made a contribution to British Society. Currently, there is only one woman(bar the Queen, who is on the front of every note) on a note, and that is Elizabeth Fry a social and prison reformer from the 1800s. However, its time for that note to be changed, and Winston Churchill has been picked to replace her. I have nothing against Winston Churchill, and he is obviously a key figure in our history, but I completely understand the uproar. It seems completely fair to replace a woman with a woman, especially as all the others are men. In fact, I think the treasury should be moving towards a 50% split of important women in our history – there is a huge amount to choose from. And it would be such a simple way of making sure those women are in peoples conciousness, and to show women have contributed equally to society.

The most recent news in “Notegate” is that the next note due for a change – the £10 – will feature Jane Austen! No date as yet, but in the next few years she’ll be in lots of peoples wallets and pockets! Hopefully a trend will follow and lots of other women will appear on notes in the future.


Phoebe x


The Militia

By militia, I specifcally mean that of Jane Austen’s time. You know, the ones that don’t go anywhere, or fight anyone. Or as when Isabel explained to me when I asked in rehearsal “they’re kind of like Dad’s army”

An Evening at Home with the Austens is set in 1792, just before Henry Austen was about to set off to join the Militia – one of his many, many different careers(keep an eye out for when the Austen facts on our Twitter are about him! @RuffledUmbrella) People in the Militia are often mentioned in many of her books, at the forefront of my mind while I’m writing, is George Wickham. 

So I took it upon myself to do some research – the Jane Austen Centre in Bath has a factual one here, so for the facts you may as well read this: http://www.janeausten.co.uk/english-army-in-the-regencynapoleonic-war/ I won’t have anything factual to add, just my own rambling thoughts. That what the Militia are is never explained in the books, so they must have been intrinsic in every day society. That it can function as social mobility for men, as seen in Persuasion(please correct me if that’s the Army and not the Militia!). And thirdly, you seem to get paid for not doing a whole lot, and that they as a group are often painted in an unfavourable light, interestingly as Jane’s own brother was a part of one.

I realise I may have said some sweeping inaccurate generalisations in this, so please correct in the comments! I haven’t had time to do much research, so these are just my general musings 🙂


Pride and Prejudice – Re-read complete!

Sorry I’ve not posted for a while. I was away with work at the weekend, and have not been feeling particularly well the last couple of days. However, I have now FINALLY finished my re-read of Pride and Prejudice, part of the challenge set by Little White Dove(I very much recommend her blog, if you don’t already follow it: http://thedovenest.wordpress.com/)

Here are some of my thoughts:

Mr and Mrs Gardiner – how did I completely forget about them? They are definitely the nicest – and I expect happiest – of the elder generation in the novel. And I also didn’t remember how important they are to the plot in meaning Elizabeth runs into Darcy again. Do they feature in any of the adaptations?

Arg. I wrote much more than this but WordPress has deleted it! I’m afraid I’m going to leave it at that one thought for now as I’m not feeling 100% still – will add more thoughts either later or tomorrow!

Which Jane Austen Character are you?

I discovered the Jane Austen Heroine quiz this week on someone else’s blog(can’t remember who now though – really sorry!) and thought I’d share it in case any of the readers of my blog hadn’t spotted it! I came out as Catherine Morland – now must reread Northanger Abbey to see if I agree…http://www.strangegirl.com/emma/quiz.php

If you take the quiz comment below your results and if you agree!

Costume and body shapes

Quite a few blogs ago, I shared some pictures of the cast at Jane Austen’s House Museum, when we were performing scenes from Pride and Prejudice.

We had lovely, accurate costumes loaned to us – however that does not mean it was easy! I very soon realised that my body shape is not particularly suited to the empire lines of Georgian and Regenct dress. As you can see in this photo: https://rediscoveringausten.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/pride-and-prejudice-pictures-again/ the style of my dress(on the right) and Izzy’s dress(on the left) is quite different. Izzy’s is the kind of dress you would be used to – undo the buttons, put it on, and do up the buttons. Mine was rather more complicated! 

I would step into the skirt which was fairly simple. Then there was a flat – almost like you get on the top of dungarees – which would button on to the shoulders of the section with the sleeves. Similar to dungarees this then left a gap at either side. The section at the sides then needs to get held together to be tied, and then attach the flap – and I am slowly realizing this is very hard to describe as a blog post! Needless to say, I understand why people in Regency times would have needed help to get dressed! And I don’t think they were particular designed for women who are that little bit curvier! I will try and get a photo of the dress with all the different sections up at some point so you can see what I mean. I hope you’re able to make some sense of what I’ve written so far 🙂


To our secret gift giver…

At 9.17pm yesterday an anonymous backer donated us a whopping £100 pounds on our crowdfunding campaign! They gave no name other that “Secret Gift Giver” and requested no reward. None of us know who that person is – if its somebody here, we cannot thank you enough! That money means we are just £20 away from being able to cover a weeks rehearsal space for “An Evening at Home with the Austens”. Thank you so much!! 

Phoebe x

Regency World

Just a short but sweet post today!

Last week I contacted Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine to see if they would be interested in featuring Ruffled Umbrella and An Evening at Home with the Austens – and they said yes! Just about to send them an email to discuss potential timings(hoping we can line it up with our Autumn tour) When it happens, I’ll make sure to post the article on here too!

Hopefully will have a longer post tomorrow once I’ve finished Pride and Prejudice!

Phoebe x 

Back to An Evening at Home with the Austens

My most recent posts have been less related to An Evening at Home with the Austens as I intended this blog to be, so I thought I’d try and focus on the production.

On other posts I’ve mentioned The Ruffled Umbrella Company and the kind of work they do, as well bits and bobs of my experience with the production, including my character research. You can also read our promo pitch on the flyer which I posted as one of my first blog posts. If you don’t have time to go back and read it all now, here’s a quick rundown:

An Evening at Home with the Austens is based around the idea that the Austen family would regularly put on theatricals for friends, family and neighbours. When the audience arrive, we greet them in character as Jane and Henry Austen, and their cousin Eliza(me). We mingle with the audience, chatting with them, as well as setting up the set in character. Henry Austen compere’s the evening and he asks James Austen(in the lighting box) to put out some candles ready for the show! The bulk of the show then begins. The pieces are based on Jane Austen’s early work, including 2 short stories, 2 longer pieces(Evelyn and Three Sisters) and extracts from A History of England. This is interspersed with nursery rhymes and all pieces are performed as the family might have done – complete with bickering and sibling rivalry! There is also an interval in which audience members get another chance to chat with the Austen family. 

Our first performance was in April in Bath, and in July we’re doing a mini-tour to Cornwall: 23rd Liskeard, 24th Truro and 25th Penzance. There is also a possibility of doing another tour to the East of England in the Autumn, and in the very distant future one to the US(We think it would go down well, but will take a long of organisation with funds and visas etc)

At the moment, we’re concentrating on getting the show as good as possible for July, For this we are running a crowdfunding campaign. For those of you not familiar with crowdfunding, its a way of raising money by asking lots of people to give a little bit of money, rather than trying to get a lot of money out of big funders. We’re doing pretty well so far, and have raised enough to cover three days of rehearsal space. We’re £120 away from enough to pay for a whole weeks rehearsal space, but still have a bit of a way to go before raising enough for us to buy our own costumes and pay ourselves a wage! 

We’re not asking something for nothing though. We have a whole host of rewards on offer – from a DVD of the show, to VIP tickets to one of the shows in Cornwall, to a drawing of you in regency dress by our very own Philip Wall. 

If any of this sounds interesting to you, please take a look at our website: http://www.sponsume.com/project/evening-home-austens It would be fantastic if you could back us, if not, it would also make a huge help if you share it on to people you think might be interested. If you have any questions, or even ideas for other rewards, please get in touch by either commenting on here, or by emailing info@ruffledumbrella.co.uk

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I’ll let you know how its all going in my blogs from now on, alongside lots of other fun Austen stuff!

Phoebe x