An Interview with Elizabeth Garvie: the Definitive Lizzy Bennet

Photograph by Hattie Miles


Bristol born actress Elizabeth Garvie is well known for her portrayal of Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Bennett in the 1980 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. On February 17th, Elizabeth and fellow actor Robert Powell are bringing A Celebration of Jane Austen to the Gulbenkian theatre. I asked her a few questions about what is in store for anyone who is going to see the show, and a little bit about her personal interest in the world of Jane Austen.

So you’re bringing A Celebration of Jane Austen to the Gulbenkian later this month?


What can the audience expect to see in the show?

I think that they can expect just some amusing scenes from her books, and her letters that range from her birth to her death.

Am I right in thinking that you and Robert Powell have previously done something similar to this, but about Charles Dickens?

Yes, that’s right

Where did the idea for this sort of show come from?

Well it came from myself and from the person who compiled it together, who is Christine Crowshaw. She plays the piano through it, and it just makes for a really interesting and pleasurable evening, I think. People seem to love it.

There aren’t many people who are not familiar with at least one of Austen’s novels. What do you think makes her work so timeless? Why do people keep reading her stories?

Because I think she deals with, especially for women, relationships. She deals with money, lack of money, what that means, what that entails, how to cope with life and the emotions of living with relationships.

Obviously you’ve got a notable link with Elizabeth Bennett. Are there any similarities between her personality and yours that you have noticed?

Oh, I don’t think I would presume that! I hope I have a sense of humour. She certainly has one, although it fails her sometimes.

Would you say that she’s your favourite Austen character, or is there another one that stands out for you?

I think she is great, very spirited. I also think that Anne in Persuasion is rather lovely.

If you had to choose just one thing for your audience to take away from the show, what would it be?

To want to go back and re-read the novels. Or read them.


Elizabeth Garvie and Robert Powell will be bringing A Celebration of Jane Austen to the Gulbenkian Theatre: 17th February, 7.30pm

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