Arts & Entertainment

Anne Brontë’s ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ Opens This Week

Tuuli Narkle

Tuuli Narkle. Photo: Rene Vaile.

Emerging Australian playwright Emme Hoy will make her main stage debut at Sydney Theatre Company this week with her whip-smart, contemporary adaptation of Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall at the Roslyn Packer Theatre.

Directed by STC’s Resident Director Jessica Arthur (Grand Horizons, Wonnangatta), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall follows the story of Helen Graham and her mysterious arrival in the town of Lindenhope. She has a young son in tow but no husband in sight – a concept which so shocked English society in 1848 that Brontë’s sister (Jane Eyre’s Charlotte Brontë) sought to prevent the book’s republication.

Tuuli Narkle

Tuuli Narkle. Photo: Rene Vaile.

Arthur said the production would appeal to literature and theatre lovers alike, and continue society’s love affair with period dramas following the success of shows like Bridgerton and The Gilded Age.

“Not only do we crave escapism as a society, there’s also something really fun about breaking down the rules of performativity, especially when it comes to identity,” Arthur said. “In this play, we are presented with a set of rules and manners about how to behave, and then we break them apart – just like Anne presented the expectations of the time and then very openly tore them to shreds in her work. Hoy’s adaptation of the story perfectly encapsulates this, it’s a great combination of that push and pull – the classic and contemporary.”

Tuuli Narkle

Tuuli Narkle. Photo: Rene Vaile.

Hoy, a member of Sydney Theatre Company’s inaugural Emerging Writers Group in 2017, is not only the same age as Brontë when she wrote the book, but has infused her adaptation with Brontë’s same irreverence, wit and flexibility of form.

Jun 21-Jul 16. Roslyn Packer Theatre, 22 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay. $51-$109+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.roslynpackertheatre.com.au

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