JANE EYRE An Autobiography

The Great Hall, The Arts Centre, Christchurch

05/09/2017 - 08/09/2017


Production Details

Struggling to think, live and love beyond the stifling expectations of duty, class and convention, governess Jane Eyre and Master Edward Rochester take a dark journey towards sensual and intellectual liberation in Charlotte Bronte’s gothic subversion of fairy-tale romance. 

Told through Jane’s eyes, English literature’s most celebrated autobiographical novel shocked the Victorians. Performer Rebecca Vaughan embodies everywoman Jane – and several other characters – in this intimate study of love’s realities.

School Performances also available. Please contact schools@artsfestival.co.nz for details.

Hands down the best adaptation of Jane Eyre, in any medium.Broadway Baby

Great Hall The Arts Centre 
TUE 05 & WED 06 SEP 2017, 6:30pm
THU 07 SEP 2017, 7:30pm
FRI 08 SEP, 6:00pm
Prem $59 / A Res $49 / A Res Conc $45 / Student Rush $20
*Fees & conditions apply, see How to Book.

Extra: Rebecca Vaughan joins a panel to discuss the enduring appeal of gothic women in literature in Shifting Points of View: Madwomen in the Attic on Wed 6 Sept.

Theatre ,

1hr 30m

Engaging adaptation charms and entertains

Review by Naomi van den Broek 06th Sep 2017

It takes a great deal of skill and energy to hold the audience and the stage unaccompanied, and actor Rebecca Vaughan clearly has both. The small but appreciative audience at The Great Hall are very much held in the palm of Ms Vaughan’s hand for the 90 or so minutes in which she embodies not only the titular character from Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale, but also a raft of others.

Dyad Productions are clearly familiar with touring, making excellent use of a very spare set, one prop and a single costume. Minimal and effective sound effects punctuate Vaughan’s monologue and I find the striking lighting design particularly pleasing. The choice of venue is ideal for this gothic story, although I do wonder what a more intimate venue might have offered the audience for this experience. I can imagine this piece being very successfully performed in a private home – particularly one with a large fireplace and high ceilings.

It is no doubt a great challenge to adapt a novel of almost 500 pages into a 90 minute stage adaptation, and happily we lose nothing of the story. This production begins with the first line of Chapter 1 and finishes with the (slightly edited) first line of the final chapter. To manage this in a mere hour and a half is a praiseworthy feat in and of itself! The story’s first person, faux autobiographical nature lends itself well to being adapted for the stage with the story arc being very well managed.

Vaughan rises to the challenge of playing multiple characters with clear vocal and physical demarcations deftly signposting changes in character (although some of the chosen mannerisms for Mr Rochester do become ever so slightly repetitive). Moments in which characters are conversing and physically engaging are well managed with clear directorial and performative choices preventing these scenes from ever feeling trite or cheesy. Vaughan is at ease and in command of the stage, the text, and the room at all times; well-rehearsed and yet still fresh and energetic.

With so much being packed into such a short timeframe the pace does move at somewhat breakneck speed. With a performer as talented as Vaughan it would have been nice to see her have the time to play with some stillness, both physically and in the text. I have no doubt there has been solid reasoning employed in making this production one act with no interval. However when the content is this rich and the performance this stellar, I doubt any of those present would have complained at an extra half hour or so being added to afford both audience and performer a short interval and some more contrast in the pace and delivery.

Regardless, the audience were clearly very charmed, impressed and entertained by this tour-de-force of a performance, and clever, engaging adaptation of a beloved story. 


Ray Spring September 9th, 2017

Jane Eyre is brilliant. A must see, but unfortunately I cannot see it again, the show finished Friday 8th September.

The Great Hall, Christchurch Arts Centre was a brilliant setting. BUT we were a bit far away from the stage and the seating is on a level plane. So stretch your neck, or book early. Also some dialogue was a bit 'lost', due to the hall being long and not wide.

Jane Eyre is not to be missed. It should return to Christchurch to the Court Theatre. But how to improve on perfection? 

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