Playwright inspired by ‘spirited’ Bronte sisters

A new play will combine the story of the Bronte sisters with a classic by one of the world’s most famous playwrights.

Blake Morrison has set We Are Three Sisters in Haworth in 1848 when Emily, Charlotte and Anne were busy writing.

The play is an adaptation of The Three Sisters, which was written by Russian writer Chekhov in 1900.

Chekhov was himself inspired by the Bronte story while he was writing his tale of women stuck in a provincial town.

Morrison’s new play was commissioned by renowned Yorkshire theatre company Northern Broadsides. He has previously adapted Greek classics as well as transplanting German and Italian comedies to Yorkshire.

A spokesman for Northern Broadsides said Morrison’s play told of three remarkable young women who lived their lives brightly. He said: “Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte light up their world with outspoken wit, aspirations, dreams and ideas. 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.

“It has exquisitely-drawn characterisations, a nod to Chekhov and a touch of poetic licence.”

Morrison said there were good reasons for transplanting Chekhov’s original play to Haworth and for identifying his Serghyeevna sisters with the Brontes.

He said: “They even have a troubled and self-destructive brother in common. 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.

Morrison will speak next Thursday at West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth. For details, call (01535) 640188.

A separate play about the family, entitled Bronte and written by Polly Teale, is staged at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, from May 24 to 28. Call (0113) 2137700 for information.

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