In February 1817 Jane Scott's gothic melodrama Camilla the Amazon was staged, at her own theatre in London's Strand, the Sans Pareil, a house that four years later became the Adelphi, and is still in business. In the same year, the other Jane - Jane Austen - published her comically gothic work, Northanger Abbey. Why does the world not know that Jane Scott came first? Austen was a quiet, middle-class spinster living in Hampshire, unknown in her own lifetime; Scott was a successful London entrepreneur, an actress and a theatre manager as well as a prolific writer. Her theatre is a foundation stone of the modern West End. This lecture presents a whistle-stop tour of Jane's life and work, her extraordinary energy and creativity and the many new things she brought to writing for the popular stage.
Jacky Bratton is Professor Emerita of the University of London and an Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway, University of London. Her most recent books are The Making of the West End Stage, New Readings in Theatre History and The Victorian Clown.