We set off fairly early for a Saturday morning to the Jane Eyre Behind the Scenes event at Haddon Hall. (This event was so over-subscribed that they are holding another on 23rd October – for more info go to Haddon Special Events or ring 01629 810 912 to book.)
This was totally fascinating, even to John and several others who have not yet seen the latest film… Janet and Jo most entertainingly took us through the whole process from their point of view first and foremost as custodians of a priceless mediaeval building with its contents but also as intrigued bystanders impressed by so much they had witnessed including the ingenuity and skills of the film crew and actors; also the boredom for the actors and onlookers as the same line would have to be repeated dozens of time over. One saw they had picked up some considerable acting skills themselves as they re-played various amusing episodes with great aplomb, having heard them so often repeated.
We shall be away, or i’d be tempted to go back for more on the 23rd. The main impressions, as they come to me at random…the expense (£24,000 on recreating a tree, that eventually wasn’t used) the ingenuity – when the Haddon dovecote becomes from the outside the church where Mr R and Jane are nearly married and the service which takes place of course in the Haddon chapel. We were let into secrets and taken into private parts of Haddon normally kept by Lord Edward for his own personal use when entertaining house-guests, we learnt about a little hitch in the continuity when the book Rochester as/isn’t reading is left on the bridge, were saw the actual costumes worn by the cast, we heard of many amusing incidents but probably above all we were aware of the anxieties for the Haddon staff who had to be present all the time, to ensure that no damage was done unwittingly by the crew – like one who who genuinely had thought a priceless 16C chest was a prop and attached some curtaining with drawing pins or when the Thornfield fire was horribly convincingly staged (fortunately they had warned the local fire service, who – rather reassuringly – received over 100 calls that Haddon was aflame…) and so on.
So entertaining was it all that we just had to go and have a delicious bowl of homemade soup in the Haddon Hall restaurant to debrief and gather our wits before setting forth for Manchester, and the Lyric Theatre at the Lowry where we had booked tickets for the last night (there) of Tom Chambers in Top Hat.
I had been going to write of the full day in one post but I’ve spent too long at Haddon, so you’ll just have to wait a wee while to hear how we got on in Manchester along with tens of thousands of rather over-exuberant rugby league supporters, not that they were going to see Tom Chambers…