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'Let’s not be afraid to talk about them in a new way'

Yorkshire Post features the new play Jane Hair.

The new theatre production Jane Hair: The Brontës Restyled, tells the story of Emily, Charlotte, Anne and Branwell’s path to fame, and is set, and performed in, a hairdressing salon. It will tour venues in the heart of Brontë Country, at a time when accusations have been rife that there has been a effort to “dumb-down” the appeal of the novels, after actress Lily Cole was appointed as a creative partner of the Brontë Society, prompting the resignation of one of its prominent members. But for the creators of the new play, and for the Arts Council and the Brontë Society, who have supported it, the production is an opportunity to celebrate the literary family. It was devised by Haworth-born writer and television producer Kirsty Smith, of Sneaky Experience, and actress Kat Rose-Martin, who is from Bradford and spent last year touring with Northern Broadsides as well as playing Britain’s first female boxer as part of Hull City of Culture.
Miss Smith said: “We both felt there wasn’t anything out there about the Brontës that connected with us as local women. These were brilliant, inspirational women from Bradford who did things that weren’t expected of them. “We want to introduce them to people who know nothing about the Brontës. A lot of people only know them as faces on a tea towel and may be surprised by what they achieved. “Old school Brontë fans may be a little surprised by their presentation, but the play is about how hard they worked on their path to fame.” The play will be performed at Keighley and Bradford colleges, and at a hair salon in Thornton, later this month - just weeks after the Brontë name was again at the centre of controversy when former Brontë Society member and author Nick Holland, claimed Ms Cole’s appointment had turned what will be the 200th anniversary year of Emily Brontë’s birth into a “rank farce”. Miss Smith said the modern take on the Brontë family story, which sees the family work in a hairdressers while pursuing their own creative projects - is an opportunity for more people to “have ownership” of the Brontës. “The Brontës have been dead for 200 years - no one knows what they would think of anything today,” she said. “Let’s not be afraid to talk about them in a new way.”
Audience development officer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Jenna Holmes, said: “One of our roles is to partner with artists on new work that will surprise or challenge people’s preconceptions of the Brontes. “We recognised that Jane Hair would bring new and different audiences to the Brontes’ and were happy to support Sneaky Experience to develop and promote the piece.” THE PLAY will be performed at hair salons at Keighley and Bradford Colleges, plus in the heart of Brontë Country in Thornton, where the siblings were born. Head Of Department at Keighley College, Victoria Aird, said its salon was the “perfect setting” for a play celebrating artistic excellence from Keighley, while a Bradford College spokesman said it was excited to be part of an “innovative performance”.
Starring actors Kat Rose-Martin, Rosie Fox, Jeanette Percival and Ryan Greaves, tickets are still available for two shows at Bradford College on January 26, and at De Luca Hair Boutique in Thornton on January 27 (meet at the Brontë Birthplace at 7.15pm) via www.eventbrite.com (Lindsay Pantry)
Still locally, The Telegraph and Argus reports that, 'Tourism [is] now worth £656m a year to Bradford's economy' and looks forward to 2018:
“With more regeneration in the city centre and a programme of cultural and creative events taking place across the district including the British Science Festival, Bradford Literature Festival, events to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Bronte, and Tour de Yorkshire, 2018 looks set to be another great year to visit Bradford.” (Rob Lowson)
The novel Under the Pendulum Sun, by Jeanette NG is described by Black Girl Nerds as 'a Brontë hommage on LSD'.
Catherine’s brother, Laon Helstone, has disappeared in Arcadia, the Fae land, a recently discovered land that most colonizing powers are now desperate to establish trade links with. Catherine, with the support of the missionary society her brother belongs to, leaves to Arcadia, hoping she will find him.
From the start, Under the Pendulum Sun establishes its strong Victoriana theme. It isn’t only visible in how the characters behave but also in who they are, as one of the main characters is a missionary. Their morals too are very much Victorian. But Under the Pendulum Sun also references to many Victorian works: it goes from hymns, to the Victorian texts referring to faes, to inspiration from the Brontës novels and particularly to Jane Eyre: just like St. John Rivers dreams of becoming a missionary, Laon is one; just like Jane met Mr. Rochester, Catherine will meet a man falling from his horse.
The risk of so many references is always that they would lead to a sterile game of spot the references, but I strongly suspect Ng to have taken a fiendish delight in getting the Brontës fans elaborating theories based on what they knew, just so she could take the rug from under their feet a couple of times. (C.)
La Voz de Galicia (Spain) mentions Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights in an article about women singers' songs about ghosts.


This post first appeared on BrontëBlog, please read the originial post: here

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