Austen’s tale of class differences on Sheffield stage

Fanny (Lara Bundock) reads alone whilst her richer relatives enjoy themselves.
Fanny (Lara Bundock) reads alone whilst her richer relatives enjoy themselves.

A stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s tale of class differences in an upper-class household is at the Crucible Studio next week.

Mansfield Park is the latest classic to be presented by Denys Edwards Players, who already have an enviable reputation for their productions of much-loved stories such as Treasure Island, Carrie’s War, The Canterbury Tales, Jane Eyre and Anne of Green Gables.

A cast of 27 are taking to the Studio stage next week, directed by Valerie Mills. DEP are well used to putting on such large-scale shows.

As well as mastering lines and moves, the cast have had to learn to dance as the play includes a scene at a ball.

The steps and music needed to be authentic for 1812, when Mansfield Park was written.

Fortunately, the company has not had to bring in a choreographer as director Valerie has been able to use her experience directing and performing in musicals to choreograph the dances.

To make sure of accuracy, Valerie has been busy researching the music that would have been played and the steps of the dances.

Sheila Halse from the company said: “The finished result has certainly been worthwhile with a beautiful and elegant dance that will transport the audience back 200 years.”

Understandably, such a big production of a classic story created a great deal of interest from local actors.

Audiences may also recognise familiar faces from other societies such as New Venture Players, Midland Players, Dilys Guite and Sheffield University Drama Society.

Published just over 200 years ago, Mansfield Park tells the story of Fanny Price.

At the age of just 10 she is uprooted from her humble family home to the bustling, aristocratic household of her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram.

Once there, she finds herself buffeted from one crisis to the next.

Yet throughout this turmoil one thing remains a constant – her, apparently unrequited, love for the generous, worthy and steadfast Edmund Bertram.

Willis Hall’s adaptation of Mansfield Park is an elegant and spellbinding re-telling of this captivating novel which captures all the characters and story in what promises to be a sparkling and memorable evening. Directed by local director Valerie Mills, Denys Edwards production is certainly not one to be missed.

Mansfield Park runs from Tuesday to Saturday next week at 7.15pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.15pm.

Tickets are already selling well. Contact the Sheffield Theatres Box Office on 0114 249 6000 or on line at