WHAT’S ON: Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ to be staged at Little Ponton Hall later this month

Jane Austen's 'Emma' will be performed outside at The Oaksmere Hotel
Jane Austen's 'Emma' will be performed outside at The Oaksmere Hotel
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In celebration of Jane Austen’s bi-centennial year, Little Ponton Hall is hosting an open air stage adaptation of her popular comedy of manners ‘Emma’ on Friday, August 25.

As well as enjoying a night of lively entertainment and laughter, audience members will have an opportunity to visit the hall’s gardens for one hour prior to the show’s start at 7.30pm.

The evening is part of a summer tour by professional theatre company DOT Productions of a new version of the play specially created by Non Vaughan-Thomas, and features a cast of only five actors.

Austen’s work is well known for exploring the challenges faced by women in Georgian-Regency Britain and Emma perfectly portrays this theme.

For the play’s charming heroine, Emma Woodhouse, life is pretty good – if a bit boring – so she decides to spice things up a bit by taking on a protégé, Harriet Smith. Although determined not to marry herself, Emma decides to find Harriet a husband and sets about playing Cupid with the village men.

However, her carefully laid plans unravel with unexpected consequences and Emma learns that life doesn’t always go the way you want it to!

Little Ponton Hall, the home of Mr and Mrs George McCorquodale, is the perfect setting for Austen’s most celebrated novel which was first published in 1815. The 18th century house features spacious lawns, a 200-year-old cedar tree, and a walled vegetable garden featuring Victorian greenhouses full of exotic plants and a listed dovecote.

The performance is part of a 10 week tour which includes dates in Brighton, London, Ipswich and Oxford, and is one of only two taking place in Lincolnshire. Audience members are invited to bring blankets and chairs to sit on and can also enjoy their own picnics during the show.

Little Ponton Hall is in Little Ponton, two miles south-east of Grantham, NG33 5BS. Tickets cost £12 and can be booked in advance by calling 0333 666 3366, visiting dot-productions.co.uk or calling Wendy Carter on 01476 530102, or can be bought on the door for £15.