Conn Artists’ Stage Play ‘Silas Marner’

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Conn Artists and The George Eliot Fellowship

celebrate the bicentenary of one of the nation’s most treasured authors with a regional tour of stage play ‘Silas Marner’

Conn Artists Theatre Company in association with Worthing Theatres and The George Eliot Fellowship present their fresh and uplifting stage version of Silas Marner by George Eliot. They will open their upcoming nationwide tour at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre this September, with 7:30pm performances Thursday 26 September to Saturday 28 September 2019 and a matinee Friday 27 September at 2pm.

The play tells the story of a poor weaver wrongfully condemned and outcast from society, who becomes a doomed miser and recluse, until he is forced to take in a young orphan girl. Their mutual friendship leads to joy, love and his redemption.

Conn Artists, Silas Marner. ‘Dolls’ (Evangeline Duncan, Ross Muir, Alexandra Parker & Jake Snowdon). Photo by Steven Sheldrake

Silas Marner, the great Victorian epic novel, is thrillingly and theatrically brought to the stage in the bicentenary year of George Eliot’s birth by the acclaimed Conn Artists Theatre Company, following on from their hit production of The Four Men.

The heart moving action, set in the early years of the 19th century, is performed by an ensemble cast of seven actors accompanied by music and songs of the period.

Silas Marner was originally adapted for the stage by Geoffrey Beevers from George Eliot’s novel of the same name. Originally created by Geoffrey for the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, this revival by Conn Artists Theatre Company is to tour the play regionally for the first time. Supported by Arts Council England, The George Eliot Fellowship and Worthing Theatres, the production will tour to 15 venues after the Connaught Theatre.

Conn Artists, Silas Marner. ‘Silas and Eppie’ (Ross Muir & Evangeline Duncan). Photo by Steven Sheldrake

The story contains powerful and socially engaging themes relevant to audiences today including the integration of the lonely individual into the community and explores social cohesion; the goodness to be found in everyday human relations, the importance of acts of kindness between people; the pursuit of money not leading to happiness; adoption; and the chance of salvation from a point of spiritual despair. This is why Conn Artists have chosen to produce the piece as the issues explored are so topical  specially when considering immigration, the break-up or loss of communities, more diverse and unconventional forms of family life; and today’s over-emphasis on the accumulation of wealth.

Director Nick Young, who trained as a director with the Royal Shakespeare Company says: “The stage version of Silas Marner is a wonderful opportunity for actors to create live theatre- its sounds and actions using the simplest of props to create a whole community and drama. Masks and puppets are used to enhance the production. The great range of three-dimensional characters, and the moral dilemmas faced by many of them, offers performers enormous scope, whilst at the same time creating an ensemble
company.

“Silas Marner is a multi-faceted piece of work which draws the audience in, has them sitting on the edge of their seats, makes them worry about what will be the outcome of a situation, and allows them to rejoice in the ‘happily ever after’ conclusion, which has only been earned through the behaviour of the eponymous hero.”

Tickets for Silas Marner are available from £16.50 and can be purchased from the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206 206 and online at worthingtheatres.co.uk.

“…does the production…faithfully capture the cumulative effect of the novel’s chains of incident and commentary? The answer is that it does.”
Financial Times on Silas Marner adapted by Geoffrey Beevers

Featuring Ross Muir as Silas Marner
“Ross Muir could not be bettered. He gives a marathon performance that segues effortlessly from narrator to character.” The Argus, Brighton on The Four Men

“This new touring production from Worthing company Conn Artists has made regional theatre feel in ruder health overnight.” The Stage on The Four Men

Image at top: Conn Artists, Silas Marner. ‘The Lots’ (Evangeine Duncan, Peter McCrohon, Rachel Waters, Ross Muir & Jake Snowdon).  Photo by Steven Sheldrake

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