Bold re-imagining of Charlotte Brontë’s last novel premieres in The Brontë Season at West Yorkshire Playhouse
A West Yorkshire Playhouse Production
Reimagined by Linda Marshall Griffiths
Director Mark Rosenblatt
Designer Jess Curtis
Courtyard Theatre, 24 Sept - 15 Oct. Press night Wed 28 Sept, 7.45pm
A daring re-imagining of Charlotte Brontë’s ground-breaking last novel VILLETTE by Linda Marshall Griffiths and directed by Playhouse Associate Director Mark Rosenblatt premieres in the Courtyard Theatre as the centrepiece of West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Brontë Season.
The season offers contemporary responses to the Brontë sisters across performance, dance and music. At its core is a striking new adaptation of Charlotte’s experimental, late novel Villette which, whilst remaining true to her profound insights into longing and loneliness, imagines the kind of woman its heroine Lucy Snowe might have been if Charlotte was writing about a future now.
Many consider Villette to be better, more ambitious and complex than Charlotte’s most famous novel Jane Eyre. Linda Marshall Griffiths’ new play centres around Lucy Snowe, a brilliant but introverted virologist working towards a cure for a pandemic virus. Snowe is plagued by a past which torments her at every turn. As the urgency and burden of her work intensify, she grapples with the promise and possibility of love and the fear of losing it.
Director Mark Rosenblatt said, ‘This re-imagining of Villette gets to the heart of the original novel but finds a way to connect it with a modern audience.
‘Linda has taken a big bold step with the novel, using a distinct new setting as a way to release the passion and turbulence of the original novel for a contemporary audience. Relocating and updating the action to a near future world, Linda has found an extraordinary new way to imagine Charlotte’s Lucy Snowe as an isolated and distanced woman fighting for a place in society. Linda makes Lucy the last survivor of her kind - as indeed the grieving Charlotte Brontë was when she wrote Villette.’
Mark Rosenblatt’s productions at West Yorkshire Playhouse include the premiere of Eve Ensler’s The Fruit Trilogy, Richard III and Bennett’s Untold Stories, both starring Reece Dinsdale, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Of Mice and Men.
The cast of Villette features Laura Elsworthy as Lucy Snowe with Amelia Donkor, Catherine Cusack, Nana Amoo-Gottfried and Philip Cairns.
Production designer is Jess Curtis, who returns to the Playhouse for the first time since Dangerous Corner in 2001. Lighting designer Chris Davey returns after his work on the hit production of Sweeney Todd and video designer Andrzej Goulding makes his Playhouse debut following his video design for the new musical Groundhog Day at the Old Vic and Northern Ballet’s stunning 1984. Sound design is by John Harris. Movement director Megan Kennedy comes from Dublin’s cutting edge dance-theatre company Junk Ensemble.
The Brontë Season also includes a work-in-progress performance of Wasted (20 – 22 Oct), a new musical drama about the Brontës; New Perspectives which includes Tiny Shoes, an audio drama available at the Parsonage and online, and the digital project Know Your Place featuring stories of defiance; as well as panel discussions and readings of Brontë letters. In addition, Northern Ballet presents Wuthering Heights (6 – 10 Sept).
The season is presented in partnership with the Brontë Parsonage Museum. For more information about The Brontë Season visit wyp.org.uk
Marston's are proud Associate Production sponsors of Villette at West Yorkshire Playhouse.