Award-winning playwright Deborah McAndrew’s new adaptation of Anne Brontë’s novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall comes to York Theatre Royal, in a co-production with Octagon Theatre Bolton, from 26 April to 6 May.
Despite often being often overshadowed by her elder sisters Charlotte and Emily, Anne Brontë has become recognised as a brilliant novelist in her own right in recent years. Many scholars, biographers and feminist literary critics have praised Anne for her forward-thinking, creative talent, and ability to genuinely write about issues that affected the everyday lives of women.
Her 1848 novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is an ardent story of a woman’s fight against oppression, which challenged the social norms and laws of the time.
Director Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of Octagon Bolton Theatre, says:
“Deborah’s adaptation has beautifully captured the passion and the bravery of Anne Brontë’s exquisite novel, which follows one woman’s fight for independence against all odds. It is such an amazing privilege to be producing this brand new adaptation in Bolton and at York Theatre Royal, who we are very excited to be working with for this production. Audiences will be transported into a world of mystery, intrigue, betrayal and love.”
In 19th century Yorkshire, a mysterious young widow, Helen Graham, and her son arrive at the desolate estate of Wildfell Hall. Isolating herself from the village, she soon becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation. Intrigued by this beautiful and enigmatic woman, a young farmer, Markham, gradually falls in love. Torn apart with her attraction to Markham and the secrets of her past, Helen finally reveals the shocking history she thought she had left behind.
Deborah McAndrew’s previous writing work includes An August Bank Holiday Lark which won Best New Play, UK Theatre Awards in 2014. Her new adaptation of Cyrano for Northern Broadsides is currently touring the UK, visiting York Theatre Royal in April.
Phoebe Pryce (The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest: Shakespeare’s Globe), plays the enigmatic Helen Graham, and Michael Peavoy (The Musketeers, Doctors: BBC; Britannia Waves the Rules, Royal Exchange Theatre; Hamlet, National Theatre) plays handsome farmer Gilbert Markham. The cast also includes Nicole Lecky, Marc Small, Colin Connor, Phil Starnier, Sue Twist and Natasha Davidson.
Sharing the role of young Arthur, son of Helen Graham, are local young actors Ben Wood, 10, and Alexander Savkovic, 11, both from York.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall plays at York Theatre Royal from 26 April to 6 May 2017.