A fresh adaptation of the classic novel Jane Eyre will take to the New Vic stage, with a script co-commissioned by the theatre-in-the-round.
This new version of Jane Eyre, a co-production with the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, will update the literary masterpiece while remaining true to the original’s revolutionary spirit. Written by Chris Bush (Larksong for the Hoard Festival, New Vic; The Changing Room, National Theatre Connections; Standing at the Sky’s Edge, Sheffield Theatres), and directed by Zoë Waterman (The Kitchen Sink, Table, Playhouse Creatures, New Vic Theatre) this witty and fleet-footed version of the tale will be performed at the New Vic from Wednesday 4 to Saturday 28 May.
Jane may be poor, obscure, plain and little, but that does not mean she is without passion. Jane is clever and uncompromising, with no patience for those who do not meet her own high standards. Jane has no respect for authority, but lives by her own strict moral code, no matter what the consequences.
Six actor-musicians play multiple roles, with the cast including Nia Gandhi (Maryland, Sherman Theatre, Curtain Up, Theatre Clwyd) as Helen/Adele; Sarah Groarke (The Bay, ITV, Brassic, Sky) as Mrs Reed/Mrs Fairfax; Sam Jenkins-Shaw (Home, I’m Darling, The 39 Steps, Stephen Joseph Theatre, A Christmas Carol, RSC) as Rochester; Tomi Ogbaro (The Book of Dust, Bridge Theatre, An Act of Care, Archipelago/HOME Manchester) as Mr Brocklehurst/Mason/St. John; Eleanor Sutton (Hungry, Paines Plough, The Crucible, A Little Night Music, Storyhouse Chester) as Jane; and Zoe West (Romeo and Juliet, The Globe, Peter Pan, Storyhouse Chester) as Miss Temple/Grace Poole.
This is an accessible new version of a classic packed with a host of 19th century pop hits. Expect to see the iconic character of Jane Eyre in a new and refreshing light.
Writer Chris Bush said: “It feels like a lifetime since I was last at the New Vic writing for the first Hoard Festival. Suffice to say, Jane Eyre is quite a different proposition (fewer dragons, more bonnets), but I am delighted to be returning with such an iconic piece of English literature. We can sometimes think of ‘the classics’ as stuffy or inaccessible, but Jane is so thrillingly alive. She is a tower of strength, fearsome and passionate, an icon for any age. I’ve certainly fallen for her while crafting this adaptation, and I hope audiences here will too.”
Director Zoë Waterman said: “This is a fantastic adaptation – fast paced, full of passion and bursting at the seams with gorgeous music composed for the show and performed by our ridiculously talented company of six actor-musicians. I can’t wait to bring it to the New Vic – it’s a joy to be returning to a theatre I love so dearly with a show I know audiences will really enjoy. There’s a wonderful set and costumes by Bronia Housman who also designed The Kitchen Sink and Table which I directed at the Vic. Whether Jane Eyre is your favourite book or you’ve never even heard of it, this show is for you. It’s a thrilling love story wrapped up in wit, intrigue; some fun multi rolling and a whole lot of foot tapping music.”
Jane Eyre will take to the stage at the New Vic from Wednesday 4 to Saturday 28 May. Tickets are on sale now, priced from £18.50 – £27.50. For more details and to book, call the Box Office on 01782 717 962 or visit newvictheatre.org.uk
(Main image by Tony Bartholomew.)