Northern Broadsides will be staging the World premiere of Blake Morrison’s latest play, We are Three Sisters.
The new production opens on September 9 at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax before embarking on a nationwide tour until late November.
Against the backdrop of a dark, remote northern town, three remarkable young women live their lives brightly.
"The idea is less bonkers than might first appear. Chekhov had read about the Brontes, probably in Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte, shortly before writing The Three Sisters."
Haworth1848; in a gloomy parsonage where there are neither curtains nor comforts, Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte light up their world with outspoken wit, aspirations, dreams and ideas. And throughout their confined lives intensely lived…they write.
With exquisitely drawn characterizations, a nod to Chekhov and a touch of poetic licence, We Are Three Sisters is a pearl of a play which evokes with piercing clarity the life and distinct personalities of these three spirited individuals.
A long-time supporter of the work of Northern Broadsides, poet, novelist and playwright Blake Morrison has translated and adapted five hugely successful plays which were all commissioned and performed by Northern Broadsides Theatre Company: The Cracked Pot in 1995/96; Sophocles’ Oedipus in 2001 and Antigone in 2003; The Man with Two Gaffers in 2006; and in 2007, Lisa's Sex Strike.
Blake said about the play: “A few years ago a good friend who knew the adaptations I’d done for Northern Broadsides suggested another one – why not a version of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters featuring Charlotte, Emily and Anne instead of Natasha, Masha and Olga?
"The idea is less bonkers than might first appear. Chekhov had read about the Brontes, probably in Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte, shortly before writing The Three Sisters; their story was clearly an influence on the play. So there are good reasons for transplanting the play to Haworth and for identifying the Serghyeevna sisters with the Brontes. They even have a troubled and self-destructive brother in common.
"Above all I hope that, by taking a cue from Chekhov, the play will banish the gloom surrounding the Brontes and reveal the northern humour and resilience they showed, despite the ever-present threat of death and disease. In other words, I’d like to honour the truth of the Brontes while showing Charlotte, Emily, Anne, Branwell and Patrick as they’ve never been seen before.”
The production’s cast and tour dates will be announced in the coming months
We are Three Sisters, which is directed by Northern Broadsides artistic director Barrie Rutter, with tour the UK (including dates in the Yorkshire region) from September 9 until late November