Canterbury Cathedral. Located in Canterbury, Kent, England, UK. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Saturday 9 July this year will be quite a day for Aphra Behn in her home city of Canterbury. Both the Canterbury organizations that Elaine Hobby has been working with have chosen that date for events celebrating Behn and advertising her achievements to a wider public. If you are interested in a trip to Canterbury (or perhaps are already based there) and fancy a Behn-focused day, please join us. It is less than a week before the start of the Early Modern Words conference in Loughborough.

First, during the day on 9 July, the bronze maquettes that are competing to be the basis of a life-size statue of Aphra in Canterbury will be on display at Canterbury Cathedral, in the Chapter House. These four mini-statues, made by world-class sculptors Victoria Atkinson, Meredith Bergmann, Maurice Blik, and Christine Charlesworth, will be accompanied by information about Behn and her Canterbury years co-written by the A Is for Aphra campaign leader, Charlotte Cornell, and Elaine Hobby. Visitors to the Cathedral will be invited to vote for which maquette is the best image of Aphra, and to take away leaflets telling them more about her.

Close-up, Aphra Behn’s Widdow Ranter (1690), Folger Shakespeare Library, B1774.

Then on the evening of 9 July, from 6-8 p.m., the Aphra Behn Society is hosting an Aphra Behn Garden Party in the nearby village of Ickham. The centrepiece of the evening will be the performance of extracts from Behn’s second play, The Amorous Prince (1671), by members of the Canterbury Players. Elaine, who is editing the play for the Cambridge Edition, has provided the script and some notes for the director, Sally Elkerton. This is, we believe, the first performance of The Amorous Prince since its première in 1671 – yes, that’s 351 years ago, and this July performance marks the play’s advertising for sale in the Term Catalogues.

If you can make yourself free on Saturday 9 July, do come along. Further details of the maquette tour are here. An invitation to the Garden Party (£10 per head, a fee that includes a year’s membership of the Society; £5 for those who are already members) can be achieved by contacting the Aphra Behn Society