21 August, 2019

North And South premières next week

Elizabeth Gaskell’s tale of pride and prejudice amongst the cotton mills, opens next week, Thursday 29 August, 8pm. It's a timeless love story  about the shift of power and values in Victorian Britain. The last to open in the six-show Summer Season, North and South has been adapted for television three times, but never before for the stage.

From elite Harley Street society and idyllic rural Hampshire, Margaret Hale's family considerably reduce their living and move to the bustling, grimy North, thrown into a harsh new life of smoke, strikes and strife.

Can the proud, spirited Margaret survive the journey up-country? What will self-made, matter-of-fact manufacturer, John Thornton, make of the genteel Miss Hale? And could love bloom amongst the cotton mills?

A tale for today, this timely adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's great classic 19th century novel by BAFTA-nominated writer Janys Chambers explores the complex relationship between North and South, and between women and men of different classes.

Director, and Artistic Director at Pitlochry, Elizabeth Newman, explains why she commissioned the adaptation:

“Elizabeth Gaskell blazed a trail that others still follow. She was the greatest political writer of a generation, undervalued because of her gender, and her writing speaks to today more than any text I’ve encountered.

Perthshire’s relationship to cotton and linen, and the hunger of Scottish people to have political debate, meant that North And South presented itself as one of the most important stories for us to tell in Pitlochry this Summer.

It struck me that the extraordinary female artists speaking up for equality today are all standing on the shoulders of a giant. Elizabeth Gaskell is Beyoncé, she is Lady Gaga, she is Adele. We need voices like Elizabeth Gaskell on our stages and when these agitators unite with wonderful playwrights like Janys Chambers, we can create something powerful for audiences.”

As this production also features a 30+-strong community cast, she also told us:

“As a theatre for all, we are entirely committed to creating as many opportunities as possible for local people: to participate and take the space on stage, to connect and speak to the people in their own community.

Janys and I have been extraordinarily lucky to have made several pieces of work together…. It is true to say that many of my happiest experiences making theatre have been when local people work with professional actors to tell a story. Brilliantly!

I have been blown away by the talent and passion of all the individuals in our community ensemble. We cannot wait to watch them fill the Pitlochry Festival Theatre auditorium.”

Leading roles, John Thornton and Margaret Hale, famously played by Richard Armitage and Daniella Denby-Ashe in the last BBC adaptation, are played by Harry Long and Claire Dargo, already playing the lead roles in The Crucible to great acclaim as John and Elizabeth Proctor.

The formidable Mrs Thornton, is played by Deirdre Davis - a familiar face from TV’s River City, in which she played Eileen Donachie for 14 years, and already triumphing this Season as the somewhat barmy Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit and as the formidable Grandmother Emer in Heritage. Marc Small has taken the roles of two Hales! A familiar face on the small screen, Jonathan Creek, and The IT Crowd to The Sooty Show, making his debut at Pitlochry, Marc plays Reverend Hale, Margaret’s father as well as playing Michael’s father, Peter, the peacemaker in Heritage.

With only 10 performances, make sure you catch this first ever stage production of the beloved Elizabeth Gaskell classic.

To book your tickets, call PFT’s Box Office team on 01796 484 626 or buy online>>>


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