Almost everyone has heard of the characters of Mr Darcy, Emma, Elizabeth Bennet and many others, counting them as firm fictional favourites. See these characters in a new light through these suggestions of reimagined Jane Austen classics to perform, alongside a couple of new, Austen-inspired pieces.
1. Persuasion by Jeff James
(Full Length Play / 4m, 5f, 1boy(s))
When Captain Wentworth proposed to Anne eight years ago, he had only love and ambition to offer. Talked out of accepting his proposal by her family, Anne’s never quite got over her first love. But now Wentworth is back. Rich, successful and single, the handsome Captain has been transformed into a serious catch. When circumstances bring the two face to face again, Anne Elliot is forced to confront the past.
2. Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) by Jane Austen
This unique take on Jane Austen’s beloved novel is an adaptation like no other, drawing on over two hundred years of romantic pop history, and featuring six young women with a story to tell. You might have seen them before, emptying the chamber pots and sweeping ash from the grate; the overlooked and the undervalued making sure those above stairs find their happy ending.
3. Lizzy, Darcy and Jane by Joanna Norland
(Full Length Play, Drama / 5m, 7f)
Jane Austen pits her wit and will against her greatest adversary and ally, Elizabeth Bennet. Heady with her first taste of love, Jane creates Elizabeth with Mr Darcy taking on the role of her arch enemy and reluctant admirer. But when her actual romance sours, she sentences Elizabeth to marry the odious Mr Collins and herself to an equally disastrous marriage. The fates of the author, the novel and its heroine are at stake. Elizabeth Bennet must take action.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Sara Pascoe
The Bennet family has more daughters than income and more income than sense. When an eligible bachelor moves to the neighbourhood, Mrs Bennet froths over with frenzied attempts to get her daughters married at any cost.
Beautiful Jane likes Bingley but has no way of letting him know. Lizzy hates Darcy and doesn’t mind who knows it. Lydia and Kitty like soldiers and red jackets and the soldiers who are wearing them. Mary likes stationery.
5. Northanger Abbey by Matthew Francis
(Full Length Play, Drama / 7m or f)
Matthew Francis’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s first novel wryly dramatizes Catherine Morland’s romantic fantasy world alongside the real one and captures all of Austen’s irony and acerbic comment through witty dialogue and narration.
6. The Watsons by Laura Wade
Emma Watson is nineteen and new in town. She’s been cut off by her rich aunt and dumped back in the family home. Emma and her sisters must marry, fast.
If not, they face poverty, spinsterhood, or worse: an eternity with their boorish brother and his awful wife. Luckily there are plenty of potential suitors to dance with, from flirtatious Tom Musgrave to castle-owning Lord Osborne, who’s as awkward as he is rich. So far so familiar. But there’s a problem: Jane Austen didn’t finish the story. (Although this title isn’t available for performance yet, you can register your interest online to be notified as soon as it is).
7. Sense and Sensibility by Jessica Swale
(Full Length Play, Drama / 5m, 4f)
Eminently sensible Elinor pines for quiet, kind-hearted Edward Ferrars, but the impulsive Marianne loses herself in the idea of her hero on horseback, and for a girl who feasts on poetry and music, what else is there to do in Devon but dream of rescue?
Why not kindle an interest with some of our other Jane Austen adaptations too? Find plays to perform.