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Northanger Abbey begins June 27-29 and July 5-8 at 7:30 pm in the Snow Drama Theatre.

June 19, 2017
Writer: David Payne

Theater students at BYU-Idaho will be performing one of Jane Austin's early novels, Northanger Abbey. 

Justin Bates, director of the production and faculty member in the Theatre and Dance department says Northanger Abbey is a comedy and one of Austin's lesser known works.

"I would call it a romantic comedy. It's a lovely love story," said Bates. "Northanger Abbey is one of her lesser-known novels, I think a lot of people have read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, or Emma for example but not a lot of people have probably read Northanger Abbey so I hope people will come and try one of her lesser known stories and enjoy it."

The College of Performing and Visual Arts wrote, "The Department of Theatre and Dance will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death in 2017 with the world premiere production of Northanger Abbey adapted by award-winning playwright Jon Jory. Catherine Moreland would rather read her much-loved Gothic mysteries than attend a cotillion. But a trip to the fashionable city of Bath places Catherine into society's inner circle. There she learns that relationships off the page are just as full of twists and turns as those in her novels. In this fresh and fast-paced adaptation of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, an unconventional heroine comes of age with the help of her wit and her heart."

Bates said this version of Northanger Abbey was created especially for BYU-Idaho.

"This adaptation of Northanger Abbey was adapted by the playwright John Jory," said Bates. "We were invited specifically to produce this adaptation. When he finished the adaptation of Northanger Abbey he thought of the BYU-Idaho campus specifically."

BYU-Idaho students, Anna Chapman and Zach Dawdy, play Catherine Moreland and Henry Tilney in the production. Dawdy has been in multiple plays and productions at BYU-Idaho but this will be Chapman's first collegiate performance. She has been in theater at Madison High School and said she was excited when auditions came along for Northanger Abbey.

"It was extremely eye-opening and really fun. It was a really exciting way to enter into the BYU-Idaho theater world," said Chapman. "Once I got cast, that was insane. I couldn't believe it."

Since Dawdy has been in several productions at BYU-Idaho, he said his favorite part of each new show is learning from the characters he portraits.  

"One thing I look forward to with every new production that I do is that each character that I play, I always find that there is something to learn from them. There's always something I can take away," said Dawdy. "For this production, in particular, I'm excited to make that discovery of what it is that I can personally learn from Henry Tilney." 

Northanger Abbey begins June 27-29 and July 5-8 at 7:30 pm in the Snow Drama Theatre. Tickets are $3 for BYU-Idaho students and $6 for the general public. More information can be found on the College of Performing and Visual Arts website. 

Click below to hear the full interview.