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Sense and Sensibility - Cast Announcement

“That’s the thing about true classics, your experience of them enriches with each new encounter. ”

Frances Poet, playwright for Sense and Sensibility

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and OVO are delighted to announce the première of Scottish playwright Frances Poet’s exciting new stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s satirical study of society, money, and love – Sense and Sensibility.

Directed by OVO’s Artistic Director Adam Nichols, Sense and Sensibility runs at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 21 June – 27 September.

Marianne Dashwood, wild and impulsive, falls dangerously in love with the charming but roguish John Willoughby, ignoring her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo.

Whilst Marianne wears her heart on her sleeve, Elinor suffers her own private heartbreak but conceals her true feelings, even from those closest to her.

Will the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love?

One of English literature’s most beloved classics is given a contemporary makeover in a fresh and funny adaptation by award winning Scottish playwright Frances Poet.

Jane Austen originally drafted the novel in 1795 whilst living in Steventon, at which time it was called Elinor & Marianne. By some accounts, it was first written as a novel-in-letters, but no evidence of this survives. Austen revised the text in Steventon in 1797-8, and again in Chawton in 1809-10.

Austen’s brother Henry agreed to become her informal literary agent and secured her a publisher, Thomas Egerton, who published the novel on commission. Sense and Sensibility appeared at the end of October 1811. It was published anonymously; the title page simply stated that it was ‘By a Lady’. The first print run, which probably consisted of between 750-1000 copies, completely sold out within two years, making Austen a handsome profit of £140 (equivalent to over £14,000 in today’s money).

Glasgow-based writer Frances Poet’s theatre credits include Maggie May (Leeds Playhouse), Still (Traverse Theatre), Gut (Writers’ Guild Best Play Award winner, UK Theatre Best Play Award-nominated and Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Shortlisted, Traverse Theatre and Tron Theatre), The Macbeths (Citizens Theatre/Scottish Tour), and the multi-award-winning Adam (National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish and UK tours and NYU Skirball Centre). Frances’ television credits include Annika (Albini Channel) and River City (BBC Scotland). She also adapted her stage play Adam for BBC Scotland which went on to win the BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Television Scripted in 2021.

Playwright Frances Poet says:

“I was thrilled when Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman commissioned me to adapt Sense and Sensibility. A huge Austen fan in my teens, rereading the novel was like time travelling back twenty-five years. Back then I was fascinated by true love, what it was, how you find it or misunderstand it. Of the novel’s two sister protagonists, I was all Marianne: romance, idealism, blinkered and judgemental. Now I bring different eyes to Austen’s classic, and life in general, and pride myself that I have more than a little of Elinor’s quiet wisdom, kindness, and restraint in me. That’s the thing about true classics, your experience of them enriches with each new encounter. 

That has certainly been my experience with this story, which begins with the death of the sisters’ father and charts how the women’s precarious situation is exacerbated by the poor treatment they receive from the men they love. My appreciation of it as a youngster was as a ‘romcom’ but now, carrying the grief so many of us have been forced to carry during the pandemic, I see that Austen is exploring how women deal with bereavement and heartbreak in a world in which they have very little control. That’s not to say there’s not plenty of ‘Rom and Com’. The people who have the means to support the sisters are frequently hilarious, lampooned by Austen whether for their overbearing attempts to help or their elaborate efforts not to, and the romances that win out are all the richer and more profound for having grown out of disappointment. I’ve tried, in my stage adaptation, to stay true to Austen’s glorious original, while making the heartbreak visceral for a contemporary audience and leaning into the humour. My intention is a theatrical experience that will have you belly laughing, swooning (Willoughby is hard to resist), weeping and wanting to courie in close to those you love. 

I’m excited that the play will première at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, for their brilliant core local audience, and those who travel from further afield looking to be entertained in the most beautiful surroundings. I can’t imagine a better setting to escape into Austen’s hilarious but ever-resonant world, to reflect on timeless themes of love and grief and where each of us sits on the spectrum of Elinor’s sense and Marianne’s sensibility. Perhaps Elizabeth Newman had it right when she commissioned me – we’re not one or the other, for in all of us is a bit of both.” 


Sense and Sensibility’s cast will feature Lola Aluko (Medea, National Theatre of Scotland) as Marianne Dashwood; Chris Coxon (The Wizard of Oz , Watermill Theatre) as Mr John Dashwood/ Colonel Brandon; Kirsty Findlay (Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre of Scotland and Sonia Friedman Productions and was nominated with the 2016 cast for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role) as Elinor Dashwood; Connor Going (Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) as Edward Ferrars/Robert Ferrars;  Nina Kristofferson (The Billie Holiday Story, Charing Cross Theatre and Medea, Northern Broadsides) as Fanny Dashwood/Mrs Jennings; Signe Larsson (The Wizard of Oz, The Watermill Theatre) as Mrs Dashwood/Lucy Steele;  Robin Simpson (The Railway Children, York Theatre Royal and Much Ado About Nothing, Northern Broadsides); as Sir John Middleton/Mrs Ferras and Luke Wilson (Much Ado About Nothing, Royal Shakespeare Company and Rockets and Blue lights, National Theatre) as John Willoughby. All other roles will be played by the cast.

The production’s set is designed by Nick Trueman; costumes by Julie Carlin (Sunshine on Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre), lighting by Jeanine Byrne (A Streetcar Named Desire, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Pippa Murphy (Enough of Him. Pitlochry Festival Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland), music arranged by Adam Morris (Valley of Song, Finborough Theatre) and movement directed by Stephanie Allison (Little Women, Roman Theatre of St Albans).

Director and OVO Artistic Director Adam Nichols said:

Sense and Sensibility was the first of Austen’s novels to be published, and for me, it’s still her funniest, especially when she gets her teeth into the more outrageous comic characters – which makes it surprising that it has hardly ever been produced for the stage. So, we’ll be leaning into the comedy, but also drawing out the contemporary resonance of Austen’s women – nowhere else in her novels do we see a heroine in the grip of an ill-fated erotic passion, and her portrayal of 19th-century sensibility and depression has striking parallels with the challenges faced by 21st-century teenage girls.”


Sense and Sensibility runs at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 21 June – 27 September including dates at OVO’s Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans from 2-7 July and 12-18 August. Tickets and further information are available from the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Box Office on 01796 484626 or online at


A Pitlochry Festival Theatre and OVO production



By Jane Austen 

Adapted by Frances Poet

Directed by Adam Nichols

Set designed by Nick Trueman

Costumes by Julie Carlin

Lighting Design by Jeanine Byrne

Sound by Pippa Murphy

Music arranged by Adam Morris

Movement directed by Stephanie Allison


Lola Aluko (Marianne Dashwood), Chris Coxon (Mr John Dashwood/Colonel Brandon), Kirsty Findlay (Elinor Dashwood), Connor Going (Edward Ferrars/Robert Ferrars), Nina Kristofferson (Fanny Dashwood/Mrs Jennings), Signe Larsson (Mrs Dashwood/Lucy Steele), Robin Simpson (Sir John Middleton/Mrs Ferrars) and Luke Wilson (Willoughby).



  • Kirsty Findlay

  • Lola Aluko

  • Signe Larsson

  • Nina Kristofferson

  • Connor Going

  • Chris Coxon

  • Robin Simpson

  • Luke Wilson