20th January, 2022 / 13:00 - 14:15
23rd January, 2017
200 years ago in February Jane Scott’s gothic melodrama Camilla the Amazon was staged, just down the road from King’s at her own theatre, the Sans Pareil, the house that a few years later became the Adelphi. In the same year the other Jane, Jane Austen, died and her gothic work, Northanger Abbey, was published posthumously. Why does the world not know that Jane Scott came first? Austen was a quiet, middle-class spinster living in the Hampshire, unknown in her own lifetime; Scott was a successful London entrepreneur, an actress and a theatre manager as well as a prolific writer. Her theatre on the Strand is a foundation stone of the modern West End.
Jacky Bratton launched this paradox in an article called “Genius comes in all disguises” twenty years ago. Little happened. Then the cause of the actress/manager was taken up by Gilli Bush-Bailey, and together they have led research workshops, written, talked and taught students about Jane Scott’s ironic melodramas, her ground-breaking contemporary comedies, the manic edge of her burlesques, and the way in which her works anticipate and have been waiting for post-Modern understanding of the pre-Victorian.
This evening, Jacky Bratton (Professor Emeritus, Royal Holloway, University of London) and Gilli Bush-Bailey (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama), will review that work and discuss the sometimes surprising ways that Jane Scott’s Romantic theatre practice can challenge the twenty-first century imagination.