Act Your Age!

We kick off a series of videos of scenes from Jane Austen's novels, featuring students from Guildford School of Acting,

This summer, we teamed up with Guildford School of Acting (GSA) to produce a series of short videos of scenes from Jane Austen’s novels. This was part of our Act Your Age! project, in which characters from Jane Austen’s novels were portrayed by actors of the same age. It’s an enlightening process – you realise that lots of the characters are much younger than you think they are, especially as TV and film adaptations often use actors who are considerably older than the characters they are playing.

GSA enlisted their Acting MA students to take on roles from Emma and Sense and Sensibility. Working together, we chose scripts that would be useful for our schools workshops, which we have been developing this year.

GSA students then went out on location in Guildford to shoot the scenes we had chosen – wearing their own clothes and bringing a sense of modern daily life to their roles. Thus Willoughby sends Marianne an email to break off their supposed understanding, and she replies with a  voice note. Harriet and Emma discuss Robert Martin’s rejection over a punnet of strawberries, and Mr Knightley rebukes Emma in the local park.

These monologues are short, direct and entirely relatable. They bring a new normal to Jane Austen’s words, which could so easily be spoken today.

We’ll be releasing the videos over the next few months – watch the first one below!

With thanks to Art Fund who generously funded this project, under their Reimagine Grants scheme.

An extract from Sense and Sensibility, chapter 29. Performed by Liam Holmes and Tanwen Stokes. Directed by Darren Tunstall; camera by Christopher Jenkins. Produced by Guildford School of Acting for Jane Austen's House