Canterbury Christ Church’s Braddon-fueled Being Human Festival

by Janine Hatter on November 15, 2016

Being Human Festival, Canterbury Christ Church

21st – 25th November, 2016

The International Centre for Victorian Women Writers, in conjunction with the Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association and the theatrical group From the Cellar, are proud to announce the programme for the 2016 Being Human Festival – and it’s full of fantastic Braddon-related events!

First up, on Wednesday 23rd November is a film screening of Lady Audley’s Secret. This event features a screening of the 2000 film based on Mary Braddon’s bestselling sensation novel Lady Audley’s Secret. One of the most famous of the 1860s sensation novels, Mary Braddon’s story of the captivating but ruthless Lady Audley spoke to the darkest fears of its audience, tapping into the divisive debate over gender roles in the context of an emerging women’s movement. The screening will be followed by an informal discussion of the film’s artistic choices in reinterpreting Lady Audley for a modern audience. The discussion will be facilitated by the director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers.

The second event is on Friday 25th November and is putting Lady Audley on Trial. In Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s 1862 novel Lady Audley’s Secret, the central character is allowed to avoid arrest for the sake of the family name. But the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers has tracked her down and we will be putting her on trial in a historic courthouse owned by the university. Using modern case law to ask what crimes she may have committed, actors will stage the trial Lady Audley never had. With guidance from a modern judge, the audience will be asked to serve as members of the jury and decide whether Lady Audley is guilty. The dramatisation will be filmed for educational use, giving you a chance to make up your mind again and again.

The third event is on Friday 25th November and is an A-Level Day: Lady Audley’s Secret. A study day for A-level English students, using critical analysis, creative writing techniques and modern-day law to reconsider Lady Audley’s ‘secret’ from the perspective of multiple characters. The story focuses on Robert Audley’s investigation into the disappearance of his friend, George Talboys. But his quest frames the hopes and fears of various female characters, from the blackmailing maid Phoebe, whose social aspiration is destroyed by her fear of her fiancé, to the middle class Clara, whose anxiety for her brother allows her partially to overcome a fear of her father. One of the bestselling 1860s sensation novels, Lady Audley’s Secret spoke to the darkest fears of its time in the context of an emerging women’s movement.

And finally, for the whole week the Mary Braddon exhibition will be on display in the Courthouse. This exhibition includes original material from the Braddon Archive held by the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers, brought to life with text boards and dressed mannequins created by the Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association. Learn more about one of Victorian England’s most prolific and successful women writers, creator of the scandalous Lady Audley, who rocked the 1860s in every sense.

Amazingly, all events are free, you just need to book in advance, which you can do here.

Come one, come all, for all your Braddon needs!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Lowens November 16, 2016 at 5:44 pm

I wish you great success with the upcoming Braddon events.

My best, from Canada

Peter Lowens


Janine Hatter November 16, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Thank you, Peter. There will be a video of the trial made so you can catch up that way if you want to!



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