You may be interested to note that a new adaptation of Mansfield Park is to tour English theatres in the autumn. It will premiere at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, on the 13th September. This is a highly appropriate venue as the theatre is the only surviving Regency theatre in England. It was built in 1819 by William Wilkins, who was also the architect of the National Gallery in London. It is a very rare survivor of the Georgian era and is one of only eight Grade I listed theatres in England. As usual in these cases, it is a very intimate theatre and seats only 350.
The National Trust is the current custodian of the theatre and from its re-opening after its restoration in 2007 until recently its artistic director was Colin Blumenau who, in a very inspired way during his tenure, reintroduced to the modern repertoire many Georgian plays with which Jane Austen would have been familiar. These plays- virtually unknown and unseen since the Victorian era- were staples of the 18th century repertoire -but are rarely performed today. In particular he concentrated in reviving plays written by Suffolk’s famous theatrical daughter, Mrs Inchbald. His Restoring the Repertoire series has been wonderful to follow over the years. He is directing the new production of Mansfield Park
The adaptor is Tim Luscombe .You will no doubt be familiar with his other adaptations of Jane Austen’s works: Northanger Abbey
I was lucky enough to see Northanger Abbey in York some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. His version of Persuasion I have only read, and I do wish I had had the chance to see it on stage. I am of course, going to see Mansfield Park for not only is it now, most probably, my second favourite of Jane Austen’s novels, but this is being performed in my “patch” as it were ;) I shall be reporting back to you , of course.
In addition to staging Mansfield Park, in a really intelligent display of joined-up-thinking, the cast will also be performing a reading of Lover’s Vows adapted by Mrs Inchbald from Kotzebue’s original play, on the 24th September. This is the “play within the novel” that was nearly the undoing of the young people at Mansfield, and which was carefully chosen by Jane Austen for the way in which the plot of the play neatly amplified the secret desires of the performers. I’m hoping to see this too- I have my tickets- but it depends on my schedule on the day as to wherever I can actually attend. Fingers crossed.
If you would like to book tickets then go here for all the details of the theatres where Mansfield park will be touring this autumn.