Since the Jury Street Court House in the centre of Warwick was reopened in 2014 following a major refurbishment, the Unlocking Warwick volunteers have staged a Christmas Ball in December each year until the CoVid19 pandemic caused us to cancel the 2020 Ball.
For 2021 – assuming the vaccination programme is a success and “social distancing” is no longer required by December – we are planning to hold the Ball again, on 4th December.
The restored ballroom with its new oak floor is the perfect setting, and guests usually dress in costumes representative of the 18th and 19th centuries when balls were held regularly in the Court House. Although we describe ours as a Regency Ball, in fact the dances are typical of the Playford style, rather than the quadrilles and cotillions that are more accurately termed “Regency”. In terms of costume, though, we recommend the simpler Regency styles that are seen in films of Jane Austen novels.
Each year we engage an experienced caller who can guide people through the dances, so a sense of timing and the ability to follow the instructions is more important than previous experience of Playford dance, per se. HOWEVER, in order to follow the instructions, you will need to be familiar with the terminology of traditional dance.
For those unsure what to expect or what to wear, we have prepared some useful notes: Dance notes 2020 For those with little knowledge of Playford dance, this website can help you get to grips with the terms that the caller will be using in the instructions for the dances. Dressing in period costume is not a requirement, but is encouraged – dressing the part can help guests to achieve the elegance of a Darcy or an Elizabeth Bennett.
During the course of the evening, we expect to perform around a dozen dances. To enable as many as will to participate in each dance, the total number of tickets available is limited to sixty four. Tickets for the 2021 Ball, priced £25, will go on sale in August.
On arrival at the Ball, guests are offered a welcome drink and the bar is open all evening serving prosecco, wines, beer and soft drinks. There’s also plenty of water available – Regency dancing can be thirsty work! During the interval, canapés will be served and the Unlocking Warwick volunteers usually provide a brief entertainment, such as a recreation of a scene from a Jane Austen novel, or an extract from a Richard Sheridan play.
As this Ball has become increasingly popular, the numbers seeking tickets has outstripped the number of tickets available, so if you are interested in attending we recommend that you go on our mailing list to be notified when the tickets go on sale. The mailing list is used ONLY to provide information about the Unlocking Warwick Regency Ball. To be included on it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For the 2021 Ball, we are pleased to announce that we have secured the services of the very popular Frances Richardson as our dance director and the music will be provided by local musicians, Mr Sayers Players, who have delighted our dancers in previous years.