Dame Emma Thompson to voice Christmas experience

We are thrilled to announce our new Christmas experience - to be enjoyed online and onsite - voiced by Academy Award-winning actress Dame Emma Thompson!
Emma Thompson Headshot - credit Nick Haddow

Credit Nick Haddow

We are delighted to reveal that Dame Emma Thompson has recorded a collection of festive extracts and quotes from Jane Austen’s letters and novels for visitors to enjoy both online and onsite.

This special festive audio will be featured in our online Christmas experience: The Twelve Days of Christmas – A Jane Austen Special, which launches on our website today! The audio will also air in the House on reopening, following the easing of lockdown restrictions, as part of a special Christmas soundtrack. (Watch this space for updates on reopening!).



AUDIO EXTRACTS: Christmas audio extracts voiced by Emma Thompson include scenes from Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, as well as extracts from Jane Austen’s letters to her sister Cassandra and friend Martha Lloyd. They also include recipes from Martha Lloyd’s handwritten recipe book, which is held in the Museum’s collection, such as Martha Lloyd’s recipe for Lemon Mincepies – a recipe that Jane Austen would have known. The extracts showcase Jane Austen’s dry wit and enjoyment of Christmas traditions – from eating turkey to dancing and playing games.

ONLINE EXPERIENCE: The Twelve Days of Christmas – A Jane Austen Special can be enjoyed online from today. In this special online Christmas experience, we showcase 12 Christmas traditions and pastimes enjoyed by Jane Austen and her characters. These range from roaring log fires to Christmas music, balls, games and winter walks. Each Christmas tradition is illustrated using extracts from Jane Austen’s writings, audio narration by Thompson, objects from our collection and ideas for games and activities to enjoy at home – including a “Gingerbread Challenge” in which we’re asking you to bake a gingerbread biscuit inspired by Jane Austen.

ONSITE EXPERIENCE: On reopening, the House will be adorned with beautiful seasonal decorations, and a special Christmas audio soundtrack will air, treating you to Emma Thompson’s enchanting voice as you wander through the rooms. The Christmas audio soundtrack will also feature piano arrangements of carols from the Regency era, including an arrangement of Nos Galan, or ‘Deck the Halls’, transcribed from one of Jane Austen’s handwritten music books, held in our collection.

Sophie Reynolds, Collections and Interpretation Manager says: ‘Christmas in Regency England was a time of fun, family and merriment – all things that we know Jane Austen loved and excelled at. This Christmas we are delighted to bring Jane Austen’s distinctive voice to our Christmas festivities, as we draw on her novels and letters to explore some of her own festive traditions and pleasures – from music and dancing to games and mince pies. Emma Thompson’s narrative perfectly captures Jane Austen’s wit and dry humour, as she and her characters celebrate their own “Christmas Gaieties”.

Don’t forget that you can also join in with Jane Austen’s birthday celebrations this year from wherever you are! We are hosting Jane Austen’s Virtual Birthday Tea Party on Zoom on 16th December, 8pm (GMT).

Please note our Christmas experience has now closed. For other online events and exhibitions, please visit Jane Austen’s House From Home