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Sense and Sensibility - Cast Press Release


A Pitlochry Festival Theatre and OVO production


Sense and Sensibility

By Jane Austen 

Adapted by Frances Poet 

Directed by Adam Nichols 

Set Designer Nick Trueman

Costume Designer Julie Carlin 

Lighting Designed by Jeanine Byrne 

Movement Directed by Stephanie Allison

Sound Designed by Pippa Murphy

Music Arranged by Adam Morris 

  • Brand new adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Sense and Sensibility by Frances Poet (Adam, National Theatre of Scotland and Maggie May, Leeds Playhouse)
  • A Pitlochry Festival Theatre and OVO production
  • Directed by OVO’s Artistic Director Adam Nichols
  • Runs at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 21 June – 27 September and 2-7 July and 12-18 August at OVO’s Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans
  • Press performance on Wednesday 26 June at 2pm, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

New adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to have world première at Pitlochry Festival Theatre

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



For all press interviews and review tickets please contact Duncan Clarke PR: 

T 07880893750 or E



Press performance: Wednesday 26 June at 2pm, Pitlochry Festival Theatre



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).


Pitlochry Festival Theatre listings:


Eve perf at 7.30pm 

June: 21, 22 & 25

July: 12, 18, 23 & 27

August: 1, 8, 9, 23 & 30

September: 4, 14, 19 & 26


Mat perf at 2pm 

June: 26 & 27

July: 24

August: 24 & 31

September: 5, 20 & 27


Accessible Performances

Audio Description: 24 Jul 2pm, 4 Sep 7.30pm

BSL: 31 Aug 2pm

Captioned: 5 Sep 2pm

Relaxed and Dementia Friendly: 20 Sep 2pm


Ticket prices: From £15

Box Office and group bookings: 01796 484626

Address: Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Port-Na-Craig, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH16 5DR


OVO, Roman Theatre Open Air Festival, St Albans listings

Eve perf at 7.30pm 

July: 2, 4, 5, 6

August: 12, 13, 14, 16 & 17


Eve perf at 6.00pm 

July: 7

August: 18


Mat perf at 2.30pm 

July: 6

August: 17


Pitlochry Festival Theatre. A Theatre for Everyone. A Theatre for a Lifetime.

Since 1951, Pitlochry Festival Theatre has been the artistic heart and soul of Highland Perthshire. Attracting over 100,000 visitors every year, we’re more than simply a place to come and see a show – we’re Scotland’s leading producer of musical theatre, a champion of ensemble practice and the country’s only rurally-located, major arts organisation.  Our vision is to improve lives by sharing Pitlochry with the world and the world with Pitlochry. Our aim is to create life-enhancing experiences in our Theatre and its glorious eleven-acre campus that encompasses the magical Explorers Garden. In everything we do, we are committed to nurturing an exciting creative and cultural future for Scotland.


Pitlochry Festival Theatre is supported by funding from Creative Scotland and Perth & Kinross Council. It is also grateful to the many individual donors, trusts and foundations who continue to support the Theatre in its vision.


Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Address: Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Port Na Craig, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH16 5DR
Box Office and group bookings:




OVO is a theatre production company based in St Albans. It creates bold, imaginative and surprising new versions of classic plays and stories.


OVO has staged over 100 productions since being founded in 2003, being particularly well known for its musical Shakespeares (including Twelfth Night set on a 1920s cruise liner and Much Ado About Nothing in a 1950s American diner), but also breathing new life into Middleton, Marlowe, Chekhov, Ibsen, Coward and Rattigan, along with “first revivals” of modern classics by Lucy Kirkwood and David Eldridge.


OVO runs the annual Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans, which has grown to become one of the largest outdoor theatre festivals in the UK, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024 in the country’s oldest performance venue. The company also tours its work around the country, including regular visits to the world famous Minack Open Air Theatre in Cornwall.


OVO has received numerous awards and critical acclaim. Its production of As You Like It won the 2016 Minack Trophy and was named as one of The Guardian’s best shows of 2019. It was recently named one of the country’s top seven boutique theatres in The Times. In 2021, Artistic Director Adam Nichols was named in The Stage 100, the definitive guide to the most influential figures working in the UK theatre and performing arts industry today.