Who we are
A bit of History
The origins of the Jane Austen Regency Week started as a single event in 2005 - a theatrical performance of Persuasion 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), 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 Jane Austen 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.
Up until 2021 the Jane Austen Regency Week was run under the auspices of the Alton Chamber of Commerce & Industry, proving to be one of its greatest achievements. Regrettably the Chamber has ceased to operate, so in 2022 the Regency Week management group took the decision to take it under the wing of of Alton Community Association CIO (ACA). The Regency Week was already closely involved with the ACA, so the arrangement makes a lot of sense and offered a ready-made fund-raising activity. We also continued with the same group of organisers, so everything continued seamlessly.
After more than a decade of running the Jane Austen Regency Week, we have established a regular following of people who attend each year. Also, it is pleasing that so many people now attend in their own costumes, so there is a real atmosphere to the events that take place throughout the week. Thank you to all those people who have supported our events in the past and we look forward to running the Regency Week for many years to come.