Victorian Festival at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival 28/29 July 2012
Charles Dickens was, no doubt, one of the brilliant minds of the Victorian era and was certainly admired by one of my heroes, William Schwenk Gilbert, when he penned the lines for one of his last collaborations with Sir Arthur Sullivan, the operetta “Utopia, Limited”:
Our Peerage we've remodelled on an intellectual basis,
Which certainly is rough on our hereditary races —
Flowers of Progress.
We are going to remodel it in England.
The Brewers and the Cotton Lords no longer seek admission,
And literary merit meets with proper recognition —
Flowers of Progress.
As literary merit does in England!
Who knows but we may count among our intellectual chickens
Like you, an Earl of Thackery and p'r'aps a Duke of Dickens —
These are among the lines sung by “The Flowers of Progress”, a group of “representative” Englishmen imported into a South Sea Island Paradise in order to anglicise it. Gilbert is being satirical about England, but in their way they represent the progress of British society during the Victorian era.
LORD DRAMALEIGH, A British Lord Chamberlain
CAPTAIN FITZBATTLEAXE, of the First Life Guards
CAPTAIN SIR EDWARD CORCORAN, K.C.B., Of the Royal Navy
MR. GOLDBURY, A Company Promoter (a Birmingham capitalist)
SIR BAILEY BARRE, Q.C., M.P.
MR. BLUSHINGTON, Of the County Council
The story of Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” has sparked many Local town centres to create Dickensian festivals in the run up to the Christmas celebrations.
What I aim to do at the Victorian Festival is to create more of a “Flowers of Progress” by having Living Historians portray a range of skills to illustrate the “progress” that Britain underwent during Victoria’s lengthy reign. The effect, I hope, will be more than Dickens or Gilbert and Sullivan, worthy though these gentlemen were.
We have been offered the use of the Octagon in the Buxton Pavilion complex over that weekend. The main event will occur on the Sunday with the arrival of Queen Victoria herself.
We have an especially dedicated Yahoo group which we would invite anyone to join, who wishes to know more. You will see what facilities we can offer and a range of “fringe benefits” for participants.
Here is the link to join:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VictorianFestival/