“The Making of Miss Brown” – a play about BAA founder Elizabeth Brown

Forums History “The Making of Miss Brown” – a play about BAA founder Elizabeth Brown

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    Hi all,

    We have been contacted by David Elder, who has written and filmed a play about Elizabeth Brown, one of the prime movers of our association, and the first director of the solar section. We’ve featured her several times in the historical section newsletter.

    “The Making of Miss Brown”, 30 minutes in duration, forms part of the Stroud Theatre Festival, which, like everything else this year, is online, at https://stfonline.co.uk/   There’s a charge of three pounds, at which point the film becomes available to view for 24 hrs.

    David sends the following notes:

    “Cirencester 1883: Like so many dutiful Victorian women, 52-year old Miss Brown lives a mundane life, caring for her sick father.  There are bills to be paid, sheets to be washed and, fulfilling one of her father’s duties, daily meteorological readings to be taken.  As a devout Quaker she follows ‘the light within’, but, with her passion for astronomy, longs to see the invisible and explore the hidden depths of the universe.  While some wing-clipped geese on her neighbour’s farm seem like an accurate metaphor of her life so far, the dark clouds that constantly hug the Cotswold horizon look like a vision perfectly predicting her remaining days.  Suddenly, Elizabeth’s life changes, and she needs to decide whether to seek a life of comfortable mediocrity or chase her dream. In The Making of Miss Brown, by Gloucestershire writer David Elder, and directed by Rhona Smith, Marianne Gaston (with voice-overs by Anthony Young) brings to life the untold story of Elizabeth Brown (1830-99), Cirencester’s forgotten astronomer, in this new one-person play.”

    I haven’t seen the film yet myself, but it’s surely worth a punt!

    Mike Frost

    Historical Section Director


    Hi again all,

    I just paid my three pounds and watched the film. Pretty good! It’s written by a non-astronomer, so some of the detail isn’t great (I wouldn’t follow the solar observing techniques used in the play!). David also tells me he took dramatic license with some of her story.

    But let’s not quibble. It’s a laudable attempt to tell the story of a distinguished observer and a remarkable woman. And it should bring her story to non-astronomers.

    Worth a watch! 


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