Who we are
A bit of History
The Jane Austen Regency Week started life as a single event in 2005 - a theatrical performance by the Phoenix Theatre. The following year we held a Regency Supper, and in 2007 this became a weekend, including a craft market and another Regency Supper. The Regency Suppers were proving successful, but the planning and management were basically down to one person - (Mrs) Pat Lerew - with a bit of help from Stephen Lewis for the publicity materials.
It became clear that we needed to make the Jane Austen celebration bigger and, at the same time, increase the number of people involved in managing and running it. Thus, on a cold grey January day in 2008, we settled upon the idea of the 'Jane Austen Regency Week'. In order to spread the workload, we decided to ask the various attractions, such as Jane Austen's House Museum, Chawton House Library (now just 'Chawton House'), Allen Gallery and St Lawrence Church, to organise their own events. This idea worked, although for a number of years the attendees were required to buy tickets from multiple venues and we were conscious that this was an inconvenience. We have now resolved this, making Alton Community Centre the Box Office for all events.
The Regency Week is managed by a small group, whose job it is to manage the finances, secure funding, plan the week of events, create the publicity materials, run this website and Facebook, liaise with the event managers and, in some cases, run the events. This is a lot of work for a few volunteers, so if you live in the locality, we are always looking for extra people. We also have a wider group of people who are drawn from the people who run the events.
Although the management of the Regency Week is an independent group, it is bankrolled by the Alton Chamber of Commerce & Industry. This connection exists because the Chamber wishes to do all it can to bring more tourists and visitors to the area, and the Jane Austen Regency Week is its contribution to this effort. After more than a decade, we are most definitely achieving this and it is pleasing to see that the Regency Week now has a growing band of people who attend each year.