About this project
Cyphers Theatre Company exists to empower audiences to engage with classic stories. In the next step of fulfilling this mission, we will be touring our production of Northanger Abbey this summer.
"How can he say one thing and mean another?" Catherine leaves home for the first time to find a world much messier than she read about. Cyphers present Jane Austen’s timeless tale of growing up and getting it wrong. Told with their accessible style of humour, mutli-roling and fast-paced action.
This production is devised from Austen's Gothic satire novel Northanger Abbey. We're using our ensemble-led, energetic style to take audiences' imagination of Austen beyond the dreaded bonnets and frills, into a tale about something we've all experienced - the messy process of becoming an adult.
Whether you're a Jane Austen fan or not, we want all our audiences to have a fun, relaxed and welcoming experience. We care about making both live theatre and literature accessible: if an audience member leaves our production tempted to read the book, that's a great achievement for us.
How has the show developed?
In July 2017, we undertook a research and development period, performing a work-in-progress sharing at Proteus Creation Space in Basingstoke. Our Northanger Abbey then premiered the following October at the Winchester Guildhall, in the city where Jane Austen is buried. We then transferred our production to the Pleasance Theatre in London (November 2017), receiving great reviews:
Extremely enjoyable to watch - A Younger Theatre
If I hadn’t known any better I might have thought this were a freshly written period play as opposed to an adaptation of a novel - LondonTheatre1 (4 stars)
Why is this tour important?
This tour is an essential step for us to become a sustainable theatre company. It will grow our relationship with venues we have previously visited: Winchester Guildhall and the Holy Sepulchre Northampton (where leading regional venue, The Royal & Derngate, have agreed to run our ticketing). The venues are keen for our return and we see this as a great opportunity to expand our audiences. The tour also includes two new venues; Farnham Maltings and Charlton Park, which are exciting new connections for us.
Openness and accessibility is very important to our style of theatre. We use minimal tech at Cyphers which allows us to slot flexibly into a variety of community venues. In this tour, we will be performing in a church (Northampton), two halls within public spaces (Farnham and Winchester) and a ballroom (Canterbury). This allows us to re-engage audiences with the character and history of these familiar spaces, to spark their imaginations and to prove that you don't need much tech to tell a great story.
Why do you need funding?
The value we are asking for is carefully calculated - it is the essential amount we need to bridge the difference between what it costs to make and tour this 5 actor show and what our venues can afford. As we all know, funding is tight, venue budgets are stretched and community spaces are under-served with the arts because the costs are out of reach. We are asking for supporters to help us overcome this gap.
At a time where Drama, arts subjects and basic literacy support are being cut from the curriculum, this tour is a great opportunity for us to engage families with secondary school aged children, showing that set texts and live performance can be enjoyed rather than dreaded. Fundraising enables us to cover the marketing costs to reach the audiences who would most benefit from our work.
Have you previously managed similar projects?
Yes! We have previously toured adaptations of Great Expectations, Henry V and The Three Musketeers on time and in budget. Creative Learning is also at the heart of our work, and this has given us experience managing projects for universities (including Kings College, UCL and Imperial), schools and libraries. For further information on our Creative Learning and past productions, please see our website: www.cyphers.org