Friday, April 27, 2018

Kate Bush's part (along with Carol Ann Duffy, Jeanette Winterson and Jackie Kay) in the Brontë Stones project has absolutely taken over the Brontë news. From The Telegraph and Argus:
It was important to have women artists involved in the creation of a new art installation dedicated to the Brontë sisters, the organiser of the work has said.
Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy, Jeanette Winterson and Jackie Kay have been commissioned to create a permanent public art installation in memory of the famous literary sisters.
The Brontë Stones project will see four original pieces of writing engraved onto stones close to the sisters’ birthplace in Thornton and the nearby family parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Singer Bush will celebrate Emily, Britain’s Poet Laureate Duffy has Charlotte, The Scots Makar Kay will write about Anne while novelist Winterson will celebrate their legacy as a whole.
[...]
Director of the festival, Syima Aslam, said having women respond to the sisters could inspire the next generation of female writers.
She told the Press Association: “It’s tremendously important that women’s voices are heard. The Brontës, the generation they were in, their time and place – they were trendsetters, on the cutting edge, doing things differently.
“So determined were they to get their voices heard they chose to write in their male names. It felt really fitting to have female writers responding to the Brontës rather than male writers.
“For young girls to connect with that and be the trendsetters of their day, that’s really important. The Brontës have inspired quite a few generations of writers and to me it’s really important to have writers who will inspire other generations on these stones.”
The Brontes have become synonymous with the windswept Yorkshire moors where they were both born and wrote about.
And Ms Aslam believes it was important to have a northern writer in Manchester-born Winterson writing about the sisters’ legacy.
She said: “The Brontës are national literary icons but they are very much rooted in the north. I thought it would be fitting if the response to the legacy as a whole came from a northern writer and because the Brontë stones are going to be in the landscape we needed a writer rooted in that place.
“Her name (Winterson’s) came to mind and I thought that would fit really well.”
The stones will be placed about eight miles apart and will form what is believed to have been the route the sisters themselves often took between their birthplace in Thornton and the family parsonage in Haworth.
Bush, who famously wrote a song inspired by Wuthering Heights, said: “I am delighted to be involved in this project. Each sister being remembered by a stone in the enigmatic landscape where they lived and worked is a striking idea.
“Emily only wrote the one novel, an extraordinary work of art that has truly left its mark. To be asked to write a piece for Emily’s stone is an honour and, in a way, a chance to say thank you to her.”
The Bradford Literature Festival takes place from June 29 to July 8.
The Art Newspaper sums it all up:
Kate Bush loves the Brontë sisters—her exceptional 1978 single, Wuthering Heights, is after all a homage to Emily Brontë’s eponymous windswept novel published in 1847. The Bush/Brontë bond endures as the singer will pen an inscription on a stone in homage to the literary giant for a new public art installation due to be installed in Yorkshire this summer (from 7 July; Bradford Literature Festival). The poet Carol Ann Duffy, and novelists Jackie Kay and Jeanette Winterson will write tributes to the other Brontë sisters (each of the four passages will be under 100 words). The four stones will form a trail between the family home in Haworth and the sisters’ birthplace seven miles away in Thornton; the cartographer Christopher Goddard will create hand-drawn maps for the new Brontë route. Arts Council England and the Provident Financial Group are supporting the project.
But, as we said above, the story is pretty much everywhere: The Times, The Independent, Evening Standard, Belfast TelegraphDaily Mail, Dazed, NME, U Discover MusicBT, Lonely Planet, Harpers Bazaar, etc.

Apparently unrelatedly, Metro featured Kate Bush and her work yesterday. And Evening Standard recommended The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill  on BBC iPlayer, in which
Annie Clark (St Vincent) confesses that she does Wuthering Heights as her karaoke turn (if she’s had enough to drink). (David Sexton)
The Reviews Hub gives 4 stars out of 5 to Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre as seen at Cardiff's New Theatre.
The central role of Jane was danced with empathy by Abigail Prudames on opening night in Cardiff. Prudames’ fluidity of movement is a delight. This was certainly no plain Jane (as in the novel). Opposite her, Mlindi Kulashe is a forceful Rochester. Trained in Cape Town before completing his training at the English National Ballet School Kulashe danced with verve and expertise plus, in Act II, showing that he also has a masterly touch when it comes to mime. The diminutive Antoinette Brooks-Daw is a skittish and playful Adèle, dancing with sure-footed lightness throughout and bringing a light touch into a dark story.
Which is where Act II goes. A brilliant depiction by the Northern Ballet of one of the most famous scenes in literature – mad Bertha and the fire at Thornfield – includes clever shadow projection. Mariana Rodrigues’s Bertha is spot on, to the point where sympathy and horror collide – which is just as it should be. Throughout a grey-clad group of dancers – the D men – give expression to thought and emotion, pinpointing underlying themes.
Patrick Kinmouth’s sets make full use of sliders keeping colour monochrome, with use of a stepped level at times which works well in the party at Thornfield scene. Under the baton of conductor Daniel Parkinson, the Northern Ballet Sinfonia Orchestra conducts Patrick Feeney’s score, making a valuable and atmospheric contribution to the performance
This is classical ballet with a modern twist, which is part of its appeal to a wide audience. Point work is exact, with some brilliant and fast execution of difficult steps, alongside contemporary dance steps, all working together seamlessly to produce a ballet that is modern as well as classic, and at times breathtakingly beautiful. (Barbara Michaels)
Get the Chance reviews the production as well, giving it 5 stars out of 5.
Cathy Marston has choreographed and conceptualised this show to perfection, delicately maintaining an admirable faithfulness to the source material whilst developing a distinct, innovative edge to the newest telling of this transcendent tale, from imaginative staging to exciting choreography. (The most striking scene for me was when a row of headstones glided into view, from which ghostly figures emerged to taunt a young Jane as she visited her parents’ grave – such Gothic touches had me giddy with glee). Every single dancer – principal, soloist and ensemble alike – brought their A game, from the joyously carefree Adela to the sternly solemn St John and the sadistic Mrs Reed, but I have to shout out to the particular performers who carried the singular burden of portraying their exceptionally complex, flawed and iconic characters with seeming ease and natural elegance.
Our titular heroine is always tricky to adapt from the page to the visual medium due to the fact that she is largely introspective;  though wildly passionate within, Jane’s emotions are often compressed and concealed behind a calm, collected facade. Ayami Miyata is completely heartbreaking as a young Jane, expressing both her overwhelming despair and her iron will in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and corrupt authority figures. Because of this we understand how Jane became the person she is in adulthood, with each emotional scar and every sorrow-honed trait being beautifully portrayed by Abigail Prudames. As Jane forges her own identity through torment and toil, Prudames encapsulates the character’s growing sense of self, strength and independence with every expressive movement.
Jane’s love, Edward Rochester, is also troublesome to translate because he is, in technical terms, what we literary folk like to refer to as a ‘hot mess’. But Mlindi Kulashe was more than equal to the task, inhabiting both of these elements of Rochester’s personality with effortless grace, and completely embodying the character from the moment he strode onto the stage. Thorny and thoughtful, alluring and angsty, Kulashe’s painstakingly detailed performance conveyed every gamut of Rochester’s being from his swaggering imperiousness to his surprising tenderness, and his chemistry with Prudames is palpable. Every stage of their relationship feels simultaneously real and magical, from tentative interest and aching frustration, to its beautiful fulfilment and the inevitable fallout. Their intricate, instinctive and incredible performances anchor the entire show, and their dances were the standout moments in a production positively brimming with gorgeous choreography.
As ballet is a dialogue-free medium, it’s down a heady mix of the dancers’ expressive movements and the skill of the orchestra to convey the high, complex emotions of the story being told. Live music has no equal in this regard, and Philip Feeney’s sumptuous, near-supernatural score, performed live by the incredible Northern Ballet Sinfonia supplanted the need for dialogue and beautifully complemented the action taking place onstage. Similarly, lighting is largely a thankless task, because it’s only generally noticed if it’s very good or very bad. Thankfully this ballet boasts the former, with the wonderfully expressive lighting enhancing the nuance of emotions at play and complementing the dancing and music in lieu of words. [...]
Not content with beautiful dancing and magnificent music, this production also effortlessly explores complex social themes and nuanced subtleties that are interwoven amongst the beautiful dancing and magnificent music. For example, Bertha, has historically been read as a stand-in for the marginalised other in society, whereas, in this production, Bertha is played by a white woman and Rochester by a black man. Victoria Sibson gives a cunning, characterful performance as the first Mrs Rochester, and she and Mlindi Kulashe wonderfully convey the characters’ strange, spiky history. Bertha also has a more active, present role than her book counterpart, literally haunting the characters as a living spectre, a revenant in a red dress. In a daring, active change from the book, this version of Bertha breaks out of the attic to crash the wedding, giving her more agency and expression than her novel counterpart. At one point, Rochester and Bertha resemble Gone with the Wind’s Rhett and Scarlett down to the clothes and the burning background, though their interpersonal connection is even more tangled and twisted than Margaret Mitchell’s selfish star-crossed lovers. [...]
Haunting, harrowing yet hopeful, Jane Eyre’s story remains as relevant to us now as it ever did. Northern Ballet’s adaptation weds faithfulness with innovation in an enchanting adaptation of a timeless story that will linger long after the final curtain. (Barbara Hughes-Moore)
Periodistas (Spain) features the play Mientras tanto in which
Ana, Emilia y Carlota, son “las caricuquis”; tres amigas tocayas de las hermanas Brontë y no por casualidad. (Elvira De Luis) (Translation)
Writer Paula Byrne is asked bookish questions by Daily Mail.
[What book] . . . first gave you the reading bug?
Jane Eyre. I loved that she refused to be cowed.
The Guardian features the 1932 film The Old Dark House.
Revisiting this film is a time to ponder its origins in a novel by JB Priestley (adapted by RC Sherriff and Benn Levy) and to see a literary lineage of the horror film, quite apart from Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. You can see how the creepy brother Saul, lurking at the top of the house, is in a line that stretches from Charlotte Brontë’s madwoman in the attic to Thomas Harris’s imprisoned Hannibal Lecter, cunningly persuading people to do his bidding. (Peter Bradshaw)
According to The Telegraph and Argus, holidays abroad are decreasing in favour of 'staycations', as proven by the fact that
The Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth and East Riddlesden Hall both saw an increase in visitor numbers last year, compared to 2016.
At the parsonage, there were around 82,700 general visitors. But when schools, groups and event audiences were added, the figure was closer to 88,000 – up nearly ten per cent on the previous year. (Alistair Shand)
The Times explores 'How literature can boost house prices', using Haworth as one of its examples.
Haworth, West Yorkshire
Charlotte Brontë and her family lived in Haworth. Today Haworth is about as traditionally British as villages come. Main Street is hilly, cobbled and lined with gift shops and cafés. Haworth’s average price of £181,080 is 12 per cent up on two years ago, according to Countrywide.
What’s available? A five-bedroom barn conversion, with an adjoining cottage, is £765,000 with Charnock Bates. (David Byers)
Country & Town House is giving UK readers a chance to win 'A bundle of limited edition manuscripts of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein' worth £650. 20 minutos' Regina Exlibris (Spain) has a quiz on Wuthering Heights.

Finally, check out the Women's Prize Twitter timeline for bits of the Emily Brontë celebration.

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