Alan Stanford’s Pride and Prejudice sells out at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
Pittsburgh, PA, March 20, 2015- PICT Classic Theatre’s Artistic & Executive Director Alan Stanford just used up his three weeks of 2015 vacation days, but few people would classify taking the Gate Theatre’s production of Pride and Prejudice to the 43rd Hong Kong Arts Festival as a time of rest and relaxation. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen and adapted and directed by Alan Stanford, ran from March 5 through March 15 at the Lyric Theatre in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and every single performance was sold-out.
Stanford wrote his adaptation of Jane Austen’s most popular work over twenty years ago, and he based it on the novel and a previous stage version by James Maxwell. The Gate Theatre of Dublin first staged this adaptation in 1994. Since then, they have staged three separate productions, each of which were revived and one of which was taken to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. In fact, throughout the years, over seventy actors have appeared in Stanford’s Pride and Prejudice at the Gate. The reason that the Gate has offered this production on six separate occasions is simple— it guarantees a full house.
Other companies, such as the Guthrie, have taken on Stanford’s adaptation and received similar results. Stanford believes the reason for this is simple: “It is remarkably true to the book. It tells the full story and yet is staged almost like an opera. There is a single set, rapid movement, beautiful use of language and the action is completely choreographed.”
This particular production of Pride & Prejudice at The Gate opened in November 2013, was revived in August 2014, and then was invited to the 43rd Hong Kong Arts Festival. Stanford has been able to align his vacation time for the rehearsal and presentation of each run, which has taken him to The Gate multiple times over the past couple of years.
It was with the Gate’s touring production of Waiting for Godot that Stanford was first brought to Pittsburgh, and he fell in love with the audience and the city. Then, “over the following years, I kept returning to Pittsburgh, and especially to PICT, because for me it felt like the most natural fit for the kind of work I was best known for in Ireland— classic theatre.”
Before his emigration to Pittsburgh and PICT, Stanford was an associate artist at the Gate, both as an actor and director, for more than thirty years. According to Stanford, “I go back to the Gate whenever I can because all of us, artist or not, need that reminder of where we come from. It is my earnest hope that PICT Classic Theatre and The Gate in Dublin will find opportunities in the future to collaborate and exchange both our art and our artists.”
In fact, Pittsburgh audiences should keep their eye open for opportunities to see his smash hit production: “Although nothing is confirmed as of now, it is my determined intention to re-mount my production of Pride and Prejudice with PICT Classic Theatre in the very near future.”