January 11th – March 29th, UK Tour
January 16th – 20th, 7.30pm, Bread and Roses Theatre
January 22nd – 24th, 7.30pm, Mirth, Marvel and Maud Theatre
A celebration of one of the greatest British writers, Jane Austen, Rob Winlow’s new musical Austen reveals the woman behind the words, and it tours the UK this Spring. Following the bicentennial of her death, this is a portrait of an icon as a human being. Austen investigates the life of an author struggling as much with affairs of the heart as with ambitions for her art.
“Rob Winlow has created a tale that will be magical for Austen’s many fans ” The North East Theatre Guide
By turns comical, tragic, and enchanting, Austen is a musical that explores the challenges a female novelist faces in patriarchal Georgian England. As Jane struggles to be published, she experiences the pressures, pleasures, and pitfalls of courtship with multiple suitors. The story remains resonant and poignant in these turbulent times as the fight for gender equality continues.
Writer Rob Winlow says, “The starting point and the question we ask, and ultimately try to answer, in the show, is how come Jane Austen wrote so eloquently about romantic affairs when she had seemingly few loving relationships and never married?”
Edith Kirkwood (Peculiar Distractions, York Theatre Royal) features as Jane Austen, with Thomas Hewitt (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Lyric Hammersmith & National Tour) playing the suitors, and Jenni Lea-Jones (The Mikado, Illyria Theatre National Tour) & Adam Grayson (Jonathan Creek, BBC) as Jane’s parents. Timothy Trimingham Lee (Buried Child, Upstairs at the Gatehouse) directs and Arlene McNaught (The Good Person of Szechwan, Bridewell Theatre) provides musical direction. Rob Winlow wrote his first musical when he was 16 and won the All England Song Contest in 1982. Previous writing includes Armada the Musical, which was presented at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Austen has been presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Jane Austen Festival, York New Musical Festival and on a small UK tour. It was developed with support from York New Musical Festival and John Cooper Studio.