AN ACCLAIMED production of Jane Eyre – created during Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary – is visiting Leeds.

The National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic last year collaborated on the stage adaptation of Charlotte’s classic novel.

Sally Cookson’s energetic and imaginative new adaptation of the literary masterpiece has now been recast, with Nadia Clifford taking the central role of Jane Eyre. Tim Delap plays Rochester, the wealthy but reclusive owner of the moor-top mansion where Jane goes to work as a governess.

This year also marks the 170th anniversary of the first publication of Jane Eyre, and the stage production will visit the Grand Theatre in Leeds from July 31 to August 5. It can also be seen in Salford, Sheffield and York.

The production of Jane Eyre was originally devised by the cast and presented in two parts at Bristol Old Vic, then transferred to the National Theatre, re-imagined as a single performance, playing to sold-out houses.

It follows the spirited heroine from her beginnings as a destitute orphan, facing life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal, before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.

Director, Sally Cookson, said: “Adapting a novel for the stage is a challenging prospect – especially when it is cited as many people’s favourite of all time.

“It is always daunting when you’re working on a story everyone knows so well because you want to surprise and maybe challenge people’s expectations, without losing any of the things that make them like the story in the first place.

“I chose Jane Eyre because it’s a story I love and have enjoyed a close relationship with ever since I was intrigued, as a child, by Orson Welles’ black and white melodrama with fabulous music by Bernard Herrmann. This is a clarion cry for equal opportunities for women, not a story about a passive female who will do anything for her hunky boss.

“I was struck by how modern Jane seemed – her spirit and strong will, her peculiar and brilliant mind striving for personal freedom. She was exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.’

Pictures, by Manuel Harlan, are of the original Bristol Old Vic cast. Visit or call 0844 8482700 to book tickets.