The name Jane Eyre sounds familiar to a lot of us. Whether it’s harking back to our school or university days, many of us can recall scribbling notes in dusty books, highlighting and annotating this beloved, feisty feminist tale.
2017 is a big year for Jane Eyre, as it marks 170 years since the Charlotte Bronte novel and its trailblazing namesake, first made its debut. Published under a pseudonym, the story has come a long way since then. The stage production is currently touring around the country, and will grace the stage of the Wales Millennium Centre this week.
For the unfamiliar, this is a tale about a young orphaned Jane, following her journey from an unloving home, through school, and on to work as a governess for the mysterious Mr Rochester. In the background, a dark presence looms, threatening Jane and casting a shadow over her story.
A tale that draws parallels to Bronte’s own life, it has sustained an afterlife in movies, period dramas, and education, showcasing Jane’s obstacles and ambition that still resonate with audiences today.
Here are our top reasons for catching a show filled with crucial lessons about following your heart and standing by your beliefs…
- The ultimate feminist heroine
As a protagonist, Jane is adventurous, hardworking and sturdy. She is clever and brave, and steers her own future. While this may seem like a cultural norm with so many strong female icons in pop culture today, it was significantly rebellious at the time. Jane is a character who aspires to achieve happiness on her own terms, and boldly defies the cultural, gender bound rules of the Victorian age.
For those who love a strong female role, with guts, and a hardcore work ethic, Jane Eyre could be your next literary and stage icon.
- A classic love story
The love story between Jane and Mr Rochester is a classic but unconventional romance. A relationship intertwined with intelligent exchanges and burdened with societal expectations, it is ultimately threatened by his own dark secret. Can love really conquer all?
If you need a little more convincing, here’s a message from Mr Rochester himself…
3. Discover famous literature as it comes alive
If you’ve not read the book, seeing the production could be the perfect way to immerse yourself in a literary classic. Hear some of Jane’s famous lines first-hand, and enjoy the rebellion as she recites one of her most celebrated statements, “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will”.
One of the many reasons that readers are hesitant to embrace any film or theatrical adaptation is that their own unique imaginations shape how they ultimately read and love the story – and an adaptation sometimes cannot interpret this effectively. With this production, everything from the dialogue to the set defies expectations.
We’ve all said it at one point or another, “It’s not how it was in the book”. However, the set of Jane Eyre’s touring production captures the audience’s imagination. Using metal ladders, wooden platforms, and lighting to evoke the imagination, the set acts as a bold reminder of Jane’s struggles and frustrations.
- A modern take on a classic that stays faithful to the book
Committed to the original plot and Bronte’s Victorian setting, the company’s production refreshes a classic story without stripping it of its roots. Instead of deviating from a beloved story, the stage adaptation uses theatrical devices to revitalise the tale for both new and existing audiences.
Although the adaptation from page to stage includes a few changes to the language, much of the dialogue is lifted straight from Charlotte Bronte’s text. You’ll be surprised how modern her words sound 170 years on!
Although the production tells the story of the novel in a modern way, it stays faithful to the text so that the story suffers no injustice, and instead makes for a more relatable account of Jane’s journey.
Music is also an integral part of the play, anchoring Jane’s tale from beginning to end. With a cinematic score and powerful voices weaving throughout the story, the music is a driving force behind this enchanting and vibrant approach to storytelling.
For more information and ticket booking, please see here.