Anne Lister, who inspired Gentleman Jack, to be celebrated in a festival for her 231st birthday in Halifax

Fans of Anne Lister will get to celebrate her birthday through walking tours of her home in Shibden Hall.

Sunday, April 3, 2022, marks Anne Lister’s 231st birthday and to celebrate her life and all she had achieved, a festival of events will take place in various locations of Halifax.

The iconic businesswoman, landowner, scholar, traveller and lesbian became world-famous through Sally Wainwright’s BBC and HBO series, Gentleman Jack starring Suranne Jones.

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Gentleman Jack fan, Pat Esgate, from the US, was inspired to visit Anne Lister’s hometown, Halifax, in 2019 to organise the Anne Lister Birthday Weekend for 2020, which had to be postponed twice due to the pandemic.

The Piece Hall.

The Birthday Weekend will now run from Friday, April 1 to Sunday, April 10.

The festival will take guests on a tour of Anne Lister’s life through talks, gatherings and guides through Halifax’s stunning heritage sites, including Anne’s home in Shibden Hall, as well as Halifax Minster, The Piece Hall, Dean Clough and many more.

On the day of Anne’s birthday, Sunday, April 3, the Victoria Theatre, Halifax, is hosting an exclusive interview with Gentleman Jack writer and director, Sally Wainwright. The second series is due to air this year, so Sally will give the audience a sneak preview of what’s expected on the series and what her creative process is. The interview will be followed by a performance from duo O’Hooley and Tidow, who wrote the Gentleman Jack theme song.

On Saturday, April 2, Sunday, April 3 and Monday, April 4, there will be a Makers Market which will include around 20 stalls at Shibden Hall with unique, hand-crafted gifts, fine art, bespoke keepsakes, local food and drink, clothes and souvenirs. Brighouse Theatre Productions will also be performing.

Councillor Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for public services and communities, said: “As LGBT+ History Month gets underway, we’re delighted to launch our programme of events for the much-anticipated Anne Lister Birthday Festival 2022. We’re proud to join a global partnership of fans and organisations in bringing Anne’s remarkable story to life and to a diverse audience.

“We know that celebrating Anne’s birthday together, locally and worldwide, will become just as much a part of Calderdale’s story and heritage as Anne and her legacy.”

Councillor, Jane Scullion, the Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and strategy, added: “Our local heritage and culture play a huge part in making our borough vibrant and distinctive, transforming people’s lives and recovering from the pandemic. The Anne Lister Birthday Festival will see people from across the UK and the world visiting Halifax, which will boost our economy and put the spotlight on Calderdale in the runup to our Year of Culture in 2024.”