One of the most iconic pieces of English literature will leap off the page when shake & stir theatre co’s new stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre blazes into the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC from 18 October 2019.
Co-adapted by shake & stir co-Artistic Directors Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij, this retelling of Brontë’s gothic tale of a spirited orphan in search of love, family and a sense of belonging will see Michael Futcher direct an award-winning cast including Lee as Jane, alongside Helen Howard and Anthony Standish.
Lee said with the infallible Futcher at the helm of the production, the creative team was doing doing what it did best together: bloody good storytelling. “Michael has an amazing way of taking an adaptation and delivering it in way which resonates with the audience, whilst still staying very true to the original work,” said Lee.
The production will also feature original music written and performed live on stage by multi ARIA Award-winner and frontwoman of The Superjesus, Sarah McLeod, who will compose for theatre for the first time.
“Sarah is representing the mystery in Jane Eyre, which if you have read the book, makes up a very important part of the action,” said Lee. “She is playing two characters, which live somewhat on the edge of the natural world. Through her music and these characters, she will be a big factor in helping us create the right atmosphere.”
This faithful yet fiercely original adaptation of one of the most influential books of the 19th century follows Jane, a woman with an irrepressible spirit who is bent on fighting the social constraints of her era. Orphaned at a young age, Jane spent her childhood suffering at the hands of her cruel Aunt, only to find employment at Thornfield Hall – the impressive yet mysterious home of Edward Rochester.
As Jane and Rochester become inexplicably drawn to each other, the dark secrets locked within the walls of Thornfield start to unravel, forcing Jane on a heart-wrenching journey toward truth and freedom.
Lee said Jane Eyre had everything she loved in a story and the character of Jane had stood the test of time. “Jane Eyre is a coming of age story which uses traditions from both Romantic and Gothic literature,” she said.
“You have cruel school teachers, dark gloomy mansions, attics with hidden secrets; all the thrilling page turners you crave from a Gothic novel. Then you have the detailed and sometimes crushingly emotional focus on Jane as person. We are privy to her dreams and desires as she tries to forge her own path in life.”
“As far as I’m concerned, Charlotte Brontë has given us one of the most charming yet sophisticated novels of the 19th century. With Jane, she gave us a typically unconventional heroine and managed to blend many of the most popular literature styles into one captivating story.”
shake & stir theatre co is renowned for its innovative adaptations of popular fiction, with Jane Eyre following numerous successful page to stage co-productions with QPAC including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – which will return to the Playhouse in 2019 – and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Director: Michael Futcher Featuring: Helen Howard, Nelle Lee, Sarah McLeod, Anthony Standish Designer: Josh McIntosh Composer: Sarah McLeod Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright Additional Music and Sound Designer: Guy Webster Co-Adaptors: Nelle Lee, Nick Skubij
Cremorne Theatre – Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Season: 18 October – 9 November 2019
For more information, visit: www.shakeandstir.com.au for details.
Image: Nelle Lee as Jane Eyre – photo by Dylan Evans