A new U.K. tour of Sally Cookson’s production of Jane Eyre, originated at Bristol Old Vic and subsequently seen at London's National Theatre, has announced casting. It will launch an extensive nationwide tour at Salford's The Lowry April 8, and dates have currently been announced through September 2017.
Nadia Clifford will star in the title role, with Tim Delap as Rochester.
They are joined by Hannah Bristow (Helen Burns/Adele/St. John/Grace Poole/Abbot), Matthew Churcher (Musician), Alex Heane (Musician), Melanie Marshall (Bertha Mason), Paul Mundell (Mr. Brocklehurst/Pilot/Mason), David Ridley (musician), Evelyn Miller (Bessie/Blanche Ingram/Diana), and Lynda Rook (Mrs. Reed/Mrs. Fairfax). The cast is completed by Ben Cutler, Jenny Johns, Dami Olukoya, Francesca Tomlinson, and Phoebe Vigor.
This year marks the 170th anniversary of the first publication of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. This stage version of Jane Eyre was originally presented in two parts at Bristol Old Vic, and then transferred to the National Theatre, re-imagined as a single performance, playing to sold-out houses at the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre. The production was devised by the original company, with set designs by Michael Vale, costumes by Katie Sykes, lighting by Aideen Malone, music by Benji Bower, sound by Dominic Bilkey, movement by Dan Canham, and dramaturgy by Mike Akers.
In a press statement, Cookson commented, “Adapting a novel for the stage is a challenging prospect – especially when that novel is cited as many people’s favourite of all time. It is always daunting when you’re working on a story which everyone knows so well, because you want to surprise and maybe challenge people’s expectations, without losing any of the things which make them like the story in the first place. I chose this particular title because it’s a story that I love and have enjoyed a close relationship with ever since I was intrigued, as a child, by Orson Welles’ black and white melodrama with fabulous music by Bernard Herrmann.”
She continued, “I didn’t actually read the novel until I was in my early twenties and I remember thinking while I read it: ‘this is a clarion cry for equal opportunities for women, not a story about a passive female who will do anything for her hunky boss.’ I was struck by how modern Jane seemed – her spirit and strong will, her peculiar and brilliant mind striving for personal freedom to be who she is, lashing out against any constraint that prevents her from being herself. She was exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.”
For full touring dates and to book tickets, visit janeeyreonstage.co.uk.