Harrogate Dramatic Society gives newcomers a chance to shine in Jane Eyre

Natasha Davidson will play the lead role
Natasha Davidson will play the lead role

The Harrogate Dramatic Society production of Jane Eyre throws up big challenges for both cast and production team.

In particular it presents an opportunity for newcomers to the society to showcase their talents on the stage of Harrogate Theatre.

Sue Rawson and Judith Howe’s production – with its cast of 21 actors playing 42 parts – is an adaptation by Willis Hall of the Charlotte Bronte classic and opens the new soceity season with four performances from Thursday October 24 to Saturday October 26.

The role of Jane Eyre will be in the hands of 19-year-old Natasha Davidson from Harrogate. Audiences first saw her in How the Vote was Won – a one-act comedy celebrating the centenary of the women’s suffragette movement.

Natasha was acting and taking LAMDA exams from the age of seven and since then has taken part in the Harrogate Festival, SCALA and Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre.

“I am beyond excited to be playing Jane Eyre and I hope I can do this beloved character justice,” she said.

Carole Carpenter, who will be seen as three characters in Jane Eyre, first trod the boards at Harrogate Theatre when she was five.

“Not that I remember the performance,” Carole said.

She is a performing arts teacher and plays the piano and violin in her spare time.

Carole said: “I love the range of different parts I get to play in Jane Eyre: the calm integrity of Miss Temple at Lowood School, the bubbly mother-hen energy of Diana Rivers and the determination of socialite Blanche Ingram; she’s the one who gets to wear the loveliest dresses – always fun.”

Emma Towning from Leeds, also an experienced actor with a number of groups across Yorkshire, studied psychology at the University of York St John.

She relishes playing the terrifying character Bertha Mason, better known as the Mad Woman incarcerated in the attic of Mr Rochester’s Thornfield Hall.

“It’s one of three parts I am taking,” Emma said, “but I’m especially excited to be bringing some creepy wild energy to the role of the Mad Woman.”

The fourth newcomer to the society Matthew Weilding will be playing two parts, St John Rivers and Mr Naysmith. He has returned to drama after a break, and, this year alone, has appeared in Whistle Down the Wind, Hello Dolly and My Fair Lady, all at Harrogate Theatre.

Matthew, a software engineer by day, said: “I now devote a lot of my spare time to drama, and, as much as I enjoy music and singing in musicals, I am looking forward to playing a serious role in Jane Eyre.”

Jane Eyre is on daily at 7.30pm with a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday.

Tickets: 01423 502116.