Some people might have raised an eyebrow in surprise when Bradford won the race to become Britain’s City of Culture in 2025. But while outsiders may not think of the city in this way, that is probably because they haven’t looked at the map.
The fact is that since 1974 the city’s extended borders have taken in hitherto surrounding towns and villages, notably Haworth to the west. This, of course, is where the Bronte sisters lived, with the parsonage where their father was a church minister now being a museum.
An interest in classics of English literature like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre may have passed some folk by in their school days, but that might have been changed by the film Emily, which recently hit cinema screens.
The film is not a true biopic of Emily Bronte – the plot plays fast-and-loose with the events of her life – but it is a film that has been highly praised by many reviewers, such as Mark Kermode.
While he described it as having elements of a “fever dream” and a “fairy tale”, it also echoes the genre of costume dramas that have brought Jane Austen so many modern fans. At the same time, it does plenty to showcase the wild upland landscapes of Yorkshire.
If this does indeed reinvigorate an interest in the literature of the Brontes, some may wish to take adult acting classes in order to be involved in productions focused on them.
After all, we have already seen spin-offs from Wuthering Heights on stage and screen in the past (Who remembers Cliff Richard growing a beard to play the part of Heathcliffe?), so who knows what will be next now interest has been sparked?
Of course, this might only be a part of the City of Culture celebrations in 2025, when over 1,000 performances of all sorts will take place. But by highlighting the cultural heritage of the area, a renewed interest in the Brontes may inspire some to take to the stage and become an active part of Bradford’s year in the limelight.