Jane Austen’s EMMA: Still Sassy @ 200!

March 27, 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Contact: Scott Palmer
503 516 4840




Bag&Baggage Presents Jane Austen’s Emma in Celebration Of The Novel’s Bicentenary


Hillsboro, OR –  Jane Austen’s heroine, Emma Woodhouse, is one of the greatest female protagonists in all of Western literature. Precocious, witty, and with a penchant for matchmaking, Emma is on a mission: to find the perfect husband for her less than perfect friend Harriet. When her matchmaking goes awry, Emma finds herself in the most perplexing situation imaginable; in love! Published 200 years ago, Jane Austen’s Emma has delighted and inspired generations of readers, making the novel one of the most beloved in history.

2015-03-23 Bag N Baggage Season Preview_0116Bag&Baggage, Hillsboro’s resident professional theatre, is thrilled to celebrate Emma’s bicentenary with a sparkling, romantic adaptation by Michael Fry. Jane Austen’s Emma takes place at the Venetian Theatre in downtown Hillsboro from May 4 – 20 and is directed by Guest Director Patrick Walsh (currently Co-Artistic Director at Post5 Theatre Company).

Emma fits our artistic mission perfectly,” said Scott Palmer, Founding Artistic Director. “It is an amazing work of literature, with strong female characters, and a compelling theme for contemporary audiences. The fact that 2016 also happens to be the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication makes it the perfect time for B&B to produce a little Jane Austen.”

Originally performed in 1996 at the King’s Head Theatre in London, Michael Fry’s adaptation takes, as its starting point, what the English of the Regency period called “private theatricals.” Popular entertainments during Austen’s life, these small gatherings of friends and family would involve everyone in the storytelling, with actors playing multiple parts and using whatever was to hand as the props and costumes. “A very Bag&Baggage way of telling this story,” said Palmer. “Fry’s adaptation wowed the critics in London, who called it ‘a rare delight’ and proclaimed that Austen herself would have loved it.”

Fry’s story has five young friends gathering together in a modern day attic full of suitcases, trunks, and vintage furniture. When they discover a collection of Jane Austen novels, the friends decide to act out their favorite Austen tale, that of matchmaking debutante Emma Woodhouse.

“After reading the script, I became interested in the idea that great art can give us back a piece of ourselves,” said Patrick Walsh, who is directing his first show for Bag&Baggage. “Great art is not dictated by the time it was written. Truly great art helps us revisit times and places we thought were lost to us. That is how I plan to approach this production of Emma, one of the greatest works of art from our past.”

Emma poster smallWalsh, who is currently the Co-Artistic Director of Portland’s Post5 Theatre Company, and has directed across the country, including at the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, the Temecula Shakespeare Festival, and the Hanger Theatre. Assistant Directing credits include work for the Guthrie Theatre and the Goodman Theatre. Walsh received a Stage Director and Choreographers Foundation Observership Award and a Drama League Directing Fellowship.

“It has been exciting to collaborate with the Bag&Baggage company to come up with a unique and theatrically interesting way to tell the story of Emma Woodhouse and her interactions with the residents of Highbury,” said Walsh. “It’s a production I know Hillsboro will appreciate.”

The cast of Emma includes Bag&Baggage Resident Actors Clara Hillier (A KBNB Kristmas Karol), Arianne Jacques (Moby Dick, Rehearsed), Cassie Greer (Moby Dick, Rehearsed), Joey Copsey (The Best of Everything) and Andrew Beck (The Best of Everything). The design team includes Megan Wilkerson (Scenic Design), Melissa Heller (Costume Design), and Molly Stowe (Lighting Design).

Jane Austen’s Emma will take place at The Venetian Theatre in downtown Hillsboro from May 5 – 29, 2016. More information, and tickets, can be found online at www.bagnbaggage.org.


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Calendar Listings:

JANE AUSTEN’S EMMA by Jane Austen, Adapted by Michael Fry

An Oregon Premiere, in celebration of the bicentenary of the novel’s publication

Directed by Patrick Walsh

May 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, & 29 (2016)

Thurs/Fri/Sat at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:00pm

The Venetian Theatre

253 E Main Street, Hillsboro 97123

Box Office: 503 345 9590 or online at bagnbaggage.org