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Get Close To The Georgians With Lively Summer Festival
Wednesday - July 24, 2019
GeorgeFest is back this summer with a ten-day festival celebrating the market town of Richmond’s rich Georgian heritage.

Taking place between Saturday 17 August and Monday 26 August, GeorgeFest19 offers an exciting range of events and activities from evening musical promenades and lessons in Georgian table etiquette to gin drinking and craft workshops.

Many of the events are free of charge and have been organised by the Welcome to Richmond Group, a sub-group of the Richmond Business and Tourism Association made up of the town’s key visitor attractions and representatives of the local business community to encourage tourism to the area.

It is the festival’s fifth successful year and 2019 promises to bring this colourful period of history to life with something for everyone.

Back by popular demand is ‘Secret Salons: A Georgian Musical Promenade’ on the evening of Sunday 18 August. Last year’s event that enabled participants to walk between three town locations for three separate recitals of music from the period sold out quickly and demand for this summer’s tickets is expected to be high. 2019 locations include the exclusive residences of Culloden Tower, Millgate House and 34 Frenchgate. Tickets for the event must be booked in advance and are available from The Georgian Theatre Royal.

Culloden Tower is also open to the public on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August (10am to 4pm) when admission will be free. Built around 1746, this impressive Georgian folly is now let as a holiday residence by The Landmark Trust and has fantastic panoramic views across the town and Swaledale.

Many of the events will demonstrate how the Georgians went about their daily lives. Ruthanne Baxter (University of Edinburgh) and Nick Finnigan (Executive Manager of Edinburgh Castle) will look at the role of the drawing room through the books, music and life of Jane Austen and her contemporaries at an intriguing presentation at The Georgian Theatre Royal on Friday 23 August.

Another presentation by antiques expert David Elstob will reveal what you might find at the table and in the dining rooms of Georgian houses. This takes place in the Theatre’s Paul Iles Learning Centre on Tuesday 20 August. 

Yorkshire had its fair share of Georgian celebrities. The astronomer and composer William Herschel composed his Richmond Symphony whilst staying in the town in 1760. Captain Cook was revealing the extent of the known world, aided by the work of John Harrison and his quest to solve the problem of Longitude. More about their achievements will be revealed in a talk on The Yorkshire Enlightenment at the Green Howards Museum on Thursday 22 August.

The turbulent and sometimes scandalous life of another celebrity Edmund Keane – one of the most unique talents that British theatre has ever produced – will be depicted in the humorous and heart-breaking The Dramatic Exploits of Edmund Keane. This one-man show by award-winning Royal Shakespeare Company actor Ian Hughes takes place on stage at The Georgian Theatre Royal on Saturday 24 August.

Always a crowd-puller, the popular History Wardrobe will explore the dark drama of black in fashion and the best of British supernatural stories at The Georgian Theatre Royal on Saturday 17 August. It starts in the Georgian period with Jane Austen and comes right up to date with Susan Hill’s 20th century novel The Woman in Black – taking in the likes of the Brontes, Mary Shelley and Mrs Radcliffe on the way.

As a tribute to the Georgians’ love of gin, film buffs will be able to sample varieties of this favourite tipple while attending a special screening of The Madness of King George at the Station Cinema on Monday 19 August. Starring Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren and Rupert Graves, this is one of the most popular films in recent years depicting the period.

For anyone feeling creative, there will be a special workshop where you can have a go at making your own cross-stitch initials or zoetrope – an animation device made popular in Georgian times that produces the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings in progressive phases. This will take place at the Richmondshire Museum on Wednesday 21 August between 1pm and 4pm.

There are several walks taking place during the festival period to showcase the many 18th century features of the town’s landscape, including a walking tour of Temple Grounds and the landscaped area around Culloden Tower, together with ghost walks to entertain the family with stories of the supernatural and a series of town walks organised by the Richmondshire Museum.

Throughout the festival, there will be daily tours of the Georgian Theatre Royal – the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form – conducted by guides dressed in period costume. These will illuminate the habits and behaviours of 18th-century actors and their audiences as well as offer an insight into life in a provincial market town.

“We hope that as many people as possible will come to Richmond during the festival and sample some of the events making up this incredibly diverse and fascinating programme,” said Eileen Halliday, Chair of the Welcome to Richmond Group and Manager of The Station. 

“In addition to showcasing the fine Georgian architecture and physical landmarks for which the town is so famous, the festival will look at the Georgians themselves in order to bring this fascinating period of Richmond’s history to life,” she added.

All events and activities are featured in a GeorgeFest19 leaflet that has been distributed around the area and there is a GeorgeFest19 page with full event details here: www.richmond.org/georgefest

Photo: Richmond’s summer festival from 17-26 August is packed with events bringing Georgian times to life. 
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