The Director & adaptor of this production is Meri Mackney
Meri has been a Masker for very many years, as actor, director, bar manager and just about every backstage job there is. She has directed a number of shows in the Studio, at the Nuffield Theatre and outdoor, including Pygmalion, The Jungle Book, Anne Boleyn and Pride and Prejudice, which she also adapted for the outdoor stage. She was last seen playing a particularly gormless maid in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Meri wanted to direct Jane Eyre but was unable to find an existing script which both reflected her take on the novel and would work in the open air, so it was back to producing her own adaptation. She hopes it will meet with your approval and Charlotte Brontë’s forgiveness.
Narrator Jane is played by Abby Brine
Abby joined the cast of Jane Eyre fresh from playing the title character in The Girl on the Train for SUP. Originally cast in more minor roles, she stepped into playing the major role of Narrator Jane after rehearsals had started and has very much made the part her own.
Aunt Reed/Mrs Fairfax are played by Jenni Watson
Jenni’s love of acting was ignited when she appeared as an extra in A Man for all Seasons whilst at Drama School. Over the years she has performed for Maskers as well as many local groups, in a variety of settings. Her favourite roles include, Lady Booby (Joseph Andrews), Nancy (Sitting Pretty), Mrs Pearce (Pygmalion), the Contessa (An Italian Straw Hat), as well as Margaret in Maskers 2021 summer production of Much Ado about Nothing. More recently she appeared as Beatrice in After Life for SUP and in May 2023 as Yvonne in Hi-de-Hi for RAODS. Playing the evil Mrs Reed in Jane Eyre, will be an experience Jenni will relish!
Young Jane Eyre is played by Harriet Clarke
Harriet joined Light Up in 2022 but she has also acted with other groups. She played Mrs Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with Light Up and also played one of the main six orphans in a summer production of Annie. She is looking forward to playing Young Jane Eyre in an open-air production and has enjoyed gaining experience as part of an adult show. She can't wait to show the audience all the hard work Maskers have put in to make this a great performance!
John Reed is played by Dylan
Dylan joined Light Up in 2019. With Light Up Company, he’s been in A Christmas Carol playing the part of Scrooge, taken part in Campfire Creations at The Light up Festival and portrayed Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Recently he has gained a distinction at LAMDA solo acting grade 6 and is studying GCSE Drama. He looks forward to playing the part of Jane Eyre’s cousin in his first ever Maskers’ production.
Young Georgiana Reed/US Adèle is played by Sophia Burke
Sophia loves playing a mean character as she hasn’t had a role like her before. Sophia thanks Meri for inviting the children to audition and growing her confidence. It’s been an amazing opportunity working with Maskers. Previous roles; Maid and Rabbit Statue in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Snow White in Snow Almost White and Narrator in Seussified Christmas Tale, all with Light Up. Sophia has also been understudy for Adèle.
Young Eliza Reed/Helen Burns are played by Channah Sutton
Channah joins us for this production following appearing with a number of Maskers in the recent co-production with Light Up Drama Company of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. She is relishing the contrast in the two roles.
Bessie is played by Jo Iacovou
Joanna has been a member of Maskers since 2003. The roles she has played have been many and varied, ranging from the Sarcastic Bystander in Pygmalion, Ruby Birtle in When we are Married, Greta in Metamorphosis, Childie in The Killing of Sister George, Sophie in 100, Rita in Educating Rita, Verges in Much Ado about Nothing and playing multiple parts in Around the World in 80 Days. Jo branched out into directing with Our Town at Maskers Studio Theatre for which she won Best Director of a Drama in the Curtain Call Awards.
Mr. Brocklehurst/Richard Mason are played by Rob Iliffe
This is Rob's debut for Maskers. When not being horrible to children on stage, he helps to run a toy library service... Previous performing includes; Southampton Mummers Play, on the first Sunday of the new year at St Michael's Square, storytelling at festivals, Pirate Shakespeare and story walks. Rob has also directed several productions for both The Gantry & Salisbury Playhouse Youth Theatres.
Miss Temple is played by Sue Blackwood
Sue joined Maskers in 2023. She is looking forward to her first role with the Company.
Jane Eyre is played by Rachel di Nucci
Rachel joined Maskers a couple of years ago and has been in Four Weddings and an Elvis as Fiona, The Three Musketeers as Milady de Winter and Porthos, and most recently Gormenghast as Lady Fuchsia Groan. Rachel is excited to be part of Jane Eyre. It was one of her favourite books when she was a teenager. She hopes that her enthusiasm for the role and the book can help her bring Jane to life and for the audience to enjoy it as much as she did when first reading the novel.
Adèle Varens is played by Evelyn Fayle
This is Evelyn's first production with Maskers Theatre Company and she is super excited to be playing with the 'big kids.' Although she is not new to the stage, having been a member of Light UP since she was 4 years old, she is new to speaking another language. Evelyn's credits include, The Fairy Tale Courtroom, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Annie Kids, Snow Almost White and A Seussified Christmas Carol to name a few. She wishes to thank Meri and the Maskers for this wonderful opportunity and hopes you enjoy the show!
Sophie/Hannah are played by Sue Dashper
During Sue’s time in Maskers, she has been involved in a variety productions including: Out of Focus, Contractions and Metamorphosis in the Studio and Sitting Pretty and An Italian Straw Hat at the Nuffield Theatre. Sue has appeared in many open-air productions and was part of The Watch in Much Ado About Nothing in 2021. Previous outdoor performances were in Don Quixote, Around the World in Eighty Days, The Jungle Book, Anne Boleyn, Treasure Island and Twelfth Night. She was last seen as a deliciously dizzy Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Bertha is played by Maddy Cope
Maddy has recently joined Maskers this year. She has been in a multitude of shows and has experience working behind the scenes. She has helped with tech for The Producers, performed at the Theatre Royal, Winchester, last November. Maddy is happy to return to the stage with this production. She looks forward to playing the wonderful and violently insane Bertha. Even though she has no speaking part, she is grateful to showcase her method acting by portraying Bertha’s violent bestial behaviour, demoniacal laughter, and snarling at her other cast members.
Grace Poole/Mary Ferndean are played by Ruth Smith
Ruth is a new Masker, having previously appeared in a couple of pantomimes a few years ago. She joined Maskers with her husband to support him and assist backstage with the Christmas show, but enjoyed the presentation of Jane Eyre so much, she decided to be part of the cast. Ruth is enjoying being Grace Poole and is excited to be part of what is going to be an amazing performance.
Edward Rochester is played by Adam Taussik
Since joining Maskers 19 years ago, Adam has played characters of many ranks, from peasants to kings (with a smattering of vicars, chefs, soldiers and bears), but rarely does he 'get the girl'... For this show, Adam will also be keeping up the gothic tone of Gormenghast, with mysterious buildings, fires and a cast of eccentric characters.
Blanche Ingrams/Diana Rivers/Georgiana Reed are played by Anna Hussey
Anna joined Maskers in 2018 and has been involved both on and off stage. Debuting with Maskers in Wyrd Sisters as part of the ensemble, Anna has since played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and originated the role of Vicki in Yards Apart. Recently, Anna has had a successful debut as a director for Maskers with Gormenghast, and is looking forward to performing again in Jane Eyre. Anna is particularly excited to bring Georgiana and Blanche to life, serving sass and side eye with aplomb.
Mrs Ingrams are played by Marie McDade
This will be Marie’s 7th outing on the Maskers’ outdoor stage – from Shakespearian Midsummer fairy to Kipling’s jungle panther Bagheera, assorted characters travelling Around the World in 80 Days, Pygmalion, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing and, last summer, The Three Musketeers. Indoor shows have included Richard II, Granny Weatherwax in Wyrd Sisters, A Bunch of Amateurs, Out of Focus and, most recently, Gormenghast.
Mary Ingrams/Eliza Reed/Mary Rivers are played by Chrissy Way
Chrissy joined Maskers in 2022 and is now involved performing in her first play, 17 years since last being on stage. She has found the experience to be a fun and exciting new challenge and chapter in her life and is very much enjoying being back on stage playing some wonderful characters for Jane Eyre.
Col. Dent/Rev. Wood/Innkeeper are played by Simon Mewett
Simon joined Maskers in 2021 and performed at The Gregg School in our 2022 Summer play, The Three Musketeers, when he played two characters. Clearly two wasn't challenging enough, so this year Simon has been asked to perform three: Colonel Dent, a Landlord and the Vicar.
This has brought back memories of school, where he turned his blazer back to front in drama class and played his first role - as a man of the cloth.
St John Rivers is played by Shaun Smith
Shaun is new to Maskers. As St John, he looks forward to delivering mildly sanctimonious judgements on Mr Rochester, while wishing that the two characters could actually meet. Maybe they might get along? Unlikely... more probably, sparks would fly!
Schoolgirls/Villagers are played by The Company