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Ballarat National Theatre

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a community theatre company in the midst of isolation shall be in want of a production.

Ballarat National Theatre is proud to announce the creation of their first online production; a dramatic reading of Jane Austen’s beloved classic Pride and Prejudice. Voiced by the returning cast of the sell-out 2018 BNT production and welcoming a number of new voices; each episode will feature 2-3 chapters and transport you to 19th century England and the immerse you in the lives, loves and misunderstandings of the Bennets of Longbourn.

Podcast Links

 

Synopsis

Finding a husband is hardly Elizabeth Bennet's most urgent priority. But with four sisters, an overzealous match-making mother, and a string of unsuitable suitors, it's difficult to escape the subject. When the independent-minded Elizabeth meets the handsome but enigmatic Mr. Darcy, she is determined not to let her feelings triumph over her own good sense -- but the truth turns out to be slipperier than it seems. In a society where subtle snubs and deceit proliferate, is it possible for Elizabeth and Darcy to look beyond his pride and her prejudice, and to make the best match of all?

About the Novel

"I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London . . . The Advertisement is in our paper to day for the first time . . . ." —Jane Austen, letter to Cassandra Austen, January 29, 1813
According to family tradition, Jane Austen began writing First Impressions, the novel we know today as Pride and Prejudice, in October 1796 at the age of 20. She completed it in August 1797, just 10 months later. Though initially rejected by publishes, Austen continued to write; publishing Sense and Sensibility and penning the novel that would later become known as Northanger Abbey. After significant revision, where Austen ‘lop’t and crop’t’ the manuscript, and retitling her story, Austen successfully published Pride and Prejudice on 28th January 1813. The three volume set was priced at 18 shillings and the first edition sold out in less than a year.

Favourable reviews by literary critics and word-of-mouth promotion made Pride and Prejudice fashionable and from the beginning, enthusiasm for Pride and Prejudice centred on its realism, wit and social commentary. Critics and readers alike were charmed by the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. In a letter to her sister, Cassandra, written on the day the novel was published, January 29, 1813, Jane Austen's pride in her accomplishment is evident: "I must confess that I think her [Elizabeth] as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know."

About the Adaptation

The novel Pride and Prejudice has long retained the fascination of modern readers, consistently appearing near the top of lists of "most-loved books" among both literary scholars and the general public. This digital adaptation is incredibly faithful to Austen’s original work, with modifications to the classic tale intended only to create dialogue for characters where previously there was only narration. They have given voice to poignant moments and hilarious misunderstandings, as well as provided insight into the hearts, hopes and true natures of these treasured characters. The writers have endeavoured above all, to preserve the truth and spirit of the beloved classic. It is their hope that you will be transported to Austen’s world, as they have been.

About the Director

Directed by Liana Skewes and adapted for audio by Liana Skewes and Olivia French.

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Director - Lian Skewes

Liana studied acting at 16th Street Actors Studio and has also completed a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing as well as a major in Literature Studies as part of a Bachelor of Arts.

She has performed many times with BNT and has also worked as a performer at Sovereign Hill.
In addition to performances with companies from our region including Skin of our Teeth and Tripwire, she is known locally for her roles in Little Women (Hannah), The Best Man (Mabel Cantwell), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Bennet), Nobody’s Perfect (Deedee), Daisy Pulls It Off (Trixie) and Much Ado About Shakespeare (Lady Macbeth and Mercutio).

Liana’s creative skillset includes martial arts, in which she has a 1st dan black belt and weapons training in nunchucku, bo, jo, tonfa, kali sticks, and knives. She is also a professional singer, professional photographer, and passionate writer. The latter of which has been utilised extensively as she and Olivia adapt the text where it is needed for audio performance. 

   
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Assistant Director Olivia French

Olivia has always loved pursuing creative endeavours. Whilst living in Tasmania, she performed in 'Annie' and 'Phantom of the Opera' (Encore Theatre Tasmania) and starred as Annelle in 'Steel Magnolias' (Launceston Players). Since moving to Ballarat in 2015, her stage credits with Ballarat National Theatre include 'The Best Man', 'Daisy Pulls It Off', 'Nobody's Perfect', ‘Act Like a Girl’, and as the witty and dauntless Elizabeth Bennet in the 2018 production of 'Pride and Prejudice', directed by Alexandra Meerbach.

Most recently, she was fortunate enough to feature as an ensemble member in Ballarat Lyric Theatre’s production of ‘Les Misérables’, in March 2020 – mere days before the first lockdown was announced. Olivia is also a member of the performance team at Kryal Castle; acting in numerous pantomimes, arena shows and murder mystery nights – though her favourite is The Twelfth Night in Twelve Minutes. She rides horses and tames dragons, has survived zombie apocalypses (yes, more than one) and regularly visits Wonderland and Sherwood Forest.

Olivia is a passionate postgraduate qualified educator. Her Bachelor’s degree majored History, Sociology and English Literature – with a particular focus on 19th Century British Literature. Her deep knowledge of Pride and Prejudice is unparalleled and has been essential to the creative partnership of the project. In addition to Assistant Directing the production, a significant highlight of working on Pride and Prejudice Podcast has been the opportunity to adapt the script for production, delving deeper into Austen’s world and words, and demonstrating her prowess as a writer.

Olivia considers herself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to play one of her literary heroes not once, but twice. Her experience with the Pride and Prejudice Podcast has inspired, challenged and rewarded her in many ways, and she is grateful for the opportunity to share the joy she has found in Austen’s work.

 

 

Cast

Olivia French

Olivia French

Narrator and Plays Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Bennett
Chris Hisock

Chris Hisock

Plays Mr Bennett
Liz Hardiman

Liz Hardiman

Plays Mrs Bennett
Liana Skewes

Liana Skewes

Plays Jane Bennett
Kirily Mckellor

Kirily Mckellor

Plays Mary Bennett
Amelia Pawsey

Amelia Pawsey

Plays Catherine ‘Kitty’ Bennett
Daisy Kennington

Daisy Kennington

Plays Lydia Bennett
Ryan O'Connor

Ryan O'Connor

Plays Fitzwilliam Darcy
Tess Parker

Tess Parker

Plays Georgiana Darcy
Jolan Walker

Jolan Walker

Plays Colonel Fitzwilliam
Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts

Plays Charles Bingley
Marli van der Bijl

Marli van der Bijl

Plays Caroline Bingley
Lana Spencer

Lana Spencer

Plays Lousia Hurst
Elliot Gale

Elliot Gale

Plays Mr Wickham
Elly Krieg

Elly Krieg

Plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Shannon Nicholls

Shannon Nicholls

Plays Mr Collins
Ebony Mcclain

Ebony Mcclain

Plays Charlotte Lucas
Nick Barker-Pendree

Nick Barker-Pendree

Plays Sir William Lucas
Alana Denham-Preston

Alana Denham-Preston

Plays Maria Lucas
Pippa Asome

Pippa Asome

Plays a Young Lucas Sibling
Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Plays Mr Gardiner
Ang Cuy

Ang Cuy

Plays Mrs Gardiner
James Wait

James Wait

Plays Mr Denny
Mary Rose McLaren

Mary Rose McLaren

Plays Mrs Reynolds
Emma Wood

Emma Wood

Plays Mrs Hill
Jordan Ryan

Jordan Ryan

Plays a Butler

 

Creative Team

Director  Liana Skewes
Assistant Director  Olivia French
Production Manager Elizabeth Bradford
Production Assistant Marli van der Bijl
Writers  Liana Skewes & Olivia French

 

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Click Here to view the Pride and Prejudice 2018 Production