Anne Lister's Performing Arts

Janneke van der Weijden and Alison KirchgasserPublished on 6 October, 2020 · Last updated on 26 Feb, 2024
 Cover photo: Marius Masalar

Anne Lister enjoyed music.

Anne saw music as an important part of a cultured life and played several instruments. As today, going to concerts could be part of a courtship and tête-a-tête at the piano, part of a flirtatious interlude. She regularly went to concerts and social gatherings, which often included the participants playing and singing. 

This project is to compile together all aspects of Anne’s experiences of performing arts. This could be a private one-to-one recital, Anne practicing her flute, or a trip to the theatre, opera, or concert hall. 

Learn more from presentations utilizing some of this information, or contribute to the tracker below!

Join Codebreakers Janneke Van der Weijden and Alison Kirchgasser for a session on music in Anne Lister’s time. Learn all about Anne’s flute playing, Mariana playing the organ on a tour of the Netherlands and William Priestley founding the Halifax Choral Society. This session features a display of original archive material including diaries of Anne Lister and items from the Halifax Choral Society belonging to William Priestley. 

Anne Lister was always uncompromisingly herself, but her musical choices show her both conforming to and rejecting the convention of 19th century ‘female accomplishment’. Lisa Timbs has been bringing to life music found in Anne’s collection with performances and research that sheds light on her taste, what role music played in her life and even how she used it for seduction! 

Performing arts in Anne Lister's journals

Our aim is to get an overview of all the theatrical and musical experiences Anne describes in her journals, which will greatly help future further analyses of her musical and cultural references, likes and dislikes, and so on. 

We invite everyone to join us in collecting these references as they go along transcribing from Anne’s journals. Please put as much information as you can and have a look and see if you can add to the other entries where there are blanks. 

Reference tracker: Musical Anne


This project is made possible through ongoing contributions from the following people:

How to contribute to this project

Tip: Don't worry about redundancy; enter any information you have and we'll reconcile duplicates later.

All information in this spreadsheet is in English, but please preserve the names of events and artists as written by Anne Lister.

Anyone can help research and add additional information for each references in this spreadsheet.

If you want to help research information about these references or help find any of these artworks, please follow the steps above and note you would like to research the entries.