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Sewell Barn Theatre prepares for new production

PUBLISHED: 14:47 09 January 2013 | UPDATED: 14:48 09 January 2013

Tanwyn Smith-Meek as Maurice, Jonathan Massey as Durham. Jonathan is the one wearing blue.

Tanwyn Smith-Meek as Maurice, Jonathan Massey as Durham. Jonathan is the one wearing blue.

Archant

The Sewell Barn Theatre is preparing to raise the curtain this week on its next production, Maurice, a play based on the novel by E M Forster.

The Constitution Hill Theatre opens its doors on the production on Thursday.

Written in 1914 but unpublished until 1970, the semi-autobiographical original novel follows Maurice Hall from his school days to adulthood.

It was published after Forster’s death because of the public and legal attitude towards homosexuality, a central theme of the piece.

Roger Parsley, who adapted the play with Andy Graham, said: “The book was written by one of the greatest English novelists, and it is strongly autobiographical, so we know as we work on it, read it, or watch it that the characters on stage are based on real people.

“That, of course, makes it much more of a responsibility to play with truth.”

The play shows a society far less tolerant of homosexuality than today and the directors say it aims to entertain and challenge its audiences. “We hope that the audiences have an enjoyable evening,” said Roger. “I hope they will ask themselves at several points ‘what would I have done?’.

“There may even be those whose thinking about various areas of human life may be challenged.”

Rehearsals have also begun for the theatre’s subsequent production, Bedlam by Nell Leyshon, which opens at the theatre in February.

Other productions in the theatre’s current season include Silly Cow by Ben Elton and Airswimming by Charlotte Jones.

The Sewell Barn is based in the grounds of Sewell Park College (formerly Blyth-Jex School). It has produced more than 200 plays since being founded in 1980.

Maurice runs from January 10-12 and January 16-19, with a matinee on the 19.

Tickets can be bought from customer services, second floor, Jarrolds, Norwich, or by phoning 01603 697248. Visit www.sewellbarn.org for further information.

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