Students participating in one of this month’s Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activities (SOFIA) projects at Monmouth College are hosting “Having a Ball with Jane Austen” on Aug. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rivoli Theatre in Monmouth.
Free and open to the public, the event will feature complimentary Regency-era finger food and English Country dance lessons. Fancy dress is welcome. Beverages and Austen-themed meals will be available for purchase from the adjoining Bijou pub.
Students Tiffany Adams of New Windsor, Kalin McKean of Midlothian, Rachel Witzig of Monmouth and Katy Tolsky of Frankfort have spent the past two weeks working on a project called “Jane Austen in Community.” The project has two parts, explained its supervisor, MC faculty member Bridget Draxler
“First, they are contextualizing Austen within her community, by doing research projects that link her to other important writers, movements or events of the early 19th century,” she said. “Second, they are bringing Austen into our community, by leading a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ reading group each week at the Buchanan Center for the Arts and planning this evening of historical food, music and dancing.”
The goals, said Draxler, are “to bring Austen to the streets here in Monmouth, and to see how she was intimately involved in the literary, social and political issues of her time.”
The project coincides with the bicentennial anniversary of “Pride and Prejudice,” which was published in 1813.
“The students have been working really hard, and they’re looking forward to celebrating with a community-wide festival where they can share what they’ve learned,” said Draxler.
SOFIA gives high-achieving Monmouth students an opportunity to come back to college three weeks before classes to work on projects or conduct research in areas that match their academic interests.
More information is available from Draxler at firstname.lastname@example.org