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Actress Lynn Archer will bring 'Blue Stocking' Elizabeth Carter to life in new play by Gregory Holyoake

By Mercury reporter

Actress Lynn Archer will be impersonating Deal’s Georgian celebrity Elizabeth Carter at various events throughout this summer.

Scholar, translator and blue stocking, Mrs Carter was born 300 years ago this year.

She was the eldest daughter of the cantankerous, Dr Nicholas Carter, first perpetual curate of the newly built St George’s Church in Deal’s High Street.

Lynn Archer in Period Costume outside Carter House Deal
Lynn Archer in Period Costume outside Carter House Deal

She taught herself nine languages at a time when women were not generally educated. She rose to national importance when she translated an obscure Greek philosopher, Epictetus, and its publication brought her instant fame and fortune.

Elizabeth was regarded as the foremost of the blue stockings, an exclusive literary society in London. She also lived towards the end of her life at Carter House, an 18th century dwelling in South Street.

Mrs Archer said: “I attended Elizabeth Carter School for Girls in the 1960s although I knew little about her apart from the fact that she was a famous scholar,

“When I first went there we presented a play about the school’s history but we mainly focused upon its service to the mining community at Mill Hill.”

Lynn has been acting locally for about 50 years and she has played with a number of amateur dramatic societies. These include St George’s Players, the Guild Players and St Nicholas Players at Ringwould.

Deal historian and author Gregory Holyoake
Deal historian and author Gregory Holyoake

She added: “I always research a character thoroughly when allocated a role.

“Recently, I have absorbed myself in Elizabeth Carter’s letters, reading them mainly on the Internet.

“I feel I now know her ex-tremely well and have learned to admire her greatly. I do feel she was the exact opposite of me as she was calm, assured and totally in control, no matter what the situation.

“She mixed with all the leading figures of the day, including the royal family. She spoke German fluently, you see, and the King and Queen were Hanoverians.”

Recently, Lynn played Elizabeth Carter at Dr Johnson’s House, in Gough Square, London, for a lecture on famous blue stockings.

She also impersonated her at Carter House for visiting members of English Heritage.

Locally, she will be reading original Carter letters for meetings of the U3A on Wednesday, June 21, and The Deal Society on Tuesday, November 7, both at Deal Town Hall.

More prominently, Lynn Archer will be playing Elizabeth Carter for a specially commissioned play by Deal historian, Gregory Holyoake, as part of Deal Festival. The play, titled Parson Carter’s Daughter, will be performed by an ensemble company at St Andrew’s Church by candlelight on Monday, July 3.

Tickets are available by application in advance at the Astor Theatre

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