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Stephen Joseph Theatre Bronte festival

A festival of events including an audio walk, two shows, films and talks at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next month will celebrate Yorkshire’s literary sisters Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bronte.

At the centre of the festival is the theatre’s production of a new adaptation of Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, adapted by Chris Bush (April 8-30).

Festival Director Lisa Cagnacci says: “The story of the Brontes is a remarkable one – three sisters, each of them considered to be among the country’s greatest novelists.

“They have a strong Scarborough connection, for Anne died and is buried here. The SJT has long wanted to celebrate that connection. We hope people will enjoy this opportunity to look at all the fascinating aspects of their lives.”

Festival events include:

Jane Eyre.

An SJT and New Vic Theatre co-production that presents Jane Eyre to a fresh audience while staying true to the original's revolutionary spirit. Using actor-musicians, multi-roling and a host of 19th century pop hits, this is an accessible new version of a literary masterpiece.

I Am No Bird (April 27-30).

Stute Theatre, in association with the SJT and the Bronte Parsonage Museum. A modern adaptation re-examines the artistry and resilience of the three remarkable Yorkshire women.

Audio walk: Anne Brontë loved Scarborough (April 8-autumn).

Discover the town in a new way by following in her footsteps with this audio walk, which will guide listeners around the town as it was in the 1840s, and show Anne’s favourite landmarks.

Talks: three talks about varying aspects of the sisters’ lives and work:

Charlotte Brontë: Afterlives of a Modern Woman (April 14) – Sassy Holmes from the Bronte Parsonage Museum looks into the gifts Charlotte Bronte gave us; Charlotte Brontë & The Educational Earthquake (April 19) – Local speaker Tim Tubbs says: “Like Jane Eyre and so many other characters in their novels, the Brontes' only career option was teaching or being a governess, their experiences of which crucially informed their writing"; Shocked, Disgusted, Almost Sickened: The Brontës’ Worst Reviews (April 22). Though the sisters' novels were massively successful, they also got more than their fair share of terrible reviews. Discover some of the worst with best-selling novelist Rowan Coleman, who (as Bella Ellis) writes the Bronte Mysteries, about why the works might have annoyed some critics.

Brontë Babies (April 23).

Led by actor Sarah Pearman. Bring your small children to a sensory creative play session with songs, rhyme, movement and music, all taking inspiration from the Brontes.


A short season of big-screen adaptations of Bronte novels in the SJT’s McCarthy cinema (to be announced).

More info and tickets here


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