The National Theatre has announced details of its upcoming tour of Sally Cookson’s energetic and imaginative new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre.
The highly acclaimed co-production between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic opens at The Lowry in Salford on 8 April and will continue its journey around the country to Aylesbury, Plymouth, Southampton, Edinburgh, Woking, Glasgow, Canterbury, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Aberdeen and Birmingham. Further cities and venues to be announced.
This is a very significant time to be announcing the tour, as 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth and 2017 is the 170th anniversary of when Jane Eyre was first published.
This exciting new 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 Mike Beer, movement by Dan Canham and dramaturgy by Mike Akers. Casting for the production is yet to be announced..
Director Sally Cookson said ‘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.’
Cookson continued: ‘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.’
‘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.’
Charlotte Brontë’s story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production tells the story of one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment.
From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.
Cookson is an associate artist of Bristol Old Vic, where her productions include Treasure Island and Peter Pan; and elsewhere, Boing! (Sadler’s Wells), Cinderella (St James Theatre), an adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather (West End and UK tour), and Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre, Kingston).
Sally Cookson’s production of Peter Pan, devised by the original Company, based on the works of JM Barrie, a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, will play at the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre from November.
Photo: Manuael Harlan
UK Tour 2017
The Lowry, Salford 8-15 April, 2017
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield 18-22 April 2017
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 24-29 April 2017
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 8-13 May 2017
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh 15-20 May 2017
New Victoria Theatre, Woking 29 May-3 June 2017
Theatre Royal, Glasgow 5-10 June 2017
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury 19-24 June 2017
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff 26 June-1 July 2017
Milton Keynes Theatre 10-15 July 2017
Grand Theatre, Leeds 31 July-5 August 2017
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen 28 August-2 September 2017
Birmingham Repertory Theatre 4-16 September 2017
Further dates and venues to be announced