Anderson Theatre’s JANE EYRE Reflects Modern Issues

AHS_Jane Eyre Promo 1

Twenty Five AHS students make up the cast of Anderson Theatre’s winter play, JANE EYRE, including Junior Hailey Mauk as Jane Eyre, Junior Adam Radcliffe as Mr. Rochester, and Senior Megan Goodlett as Bertha. Photo taken at the Willadel Mansion in Judson Village by Jennifer Alessandrini.

“We always want our shows to be relevant to the students lives,” says Anderson Theatre Director Hannah Linser-Wilder, “and I chose ‘Jane Eyre’ because it speaks to issues of female empowerment that we are still dealing with today.” Anderson Theatre’s Winter Play, “Jane Eyre,” opens on February 23 and runs through the 25th. Incorporating dance and shadow-box lighting techniques, it ties the original story to the current day.

The play was adapted from the classic Charlotte Brontë novel by playwright Polly Teal. Ms. Linser-Wilder says, “I searched a long time for the right adaptation of this story I love. It is too easy to make it just about romance or religion. Teal’s version focuses on what I think is important—the life journey of Jane herself, and the reality of what the world was like before feminism existed.”

“It is very relevant for today,” says Junior Hailey Mauk, who plays Jane. “Women can still struggle to explain how they feel, and be told what they are supposed to feel and when to feel it.”

The character of Bertha, played by Senior Megan Goodlett, is onstage throughout the play, reacting to Jane’s experience through dance. Ms. Mauk explains, “Dance helps the audience to understand what Jane is thinking when she can’t express her own feelings.”

“We are all are aware of the issues in the news,” says Ms. Linser-Wilder, “but to really understand them I think it is important to take a step back and look at where we started.”

Sophomore Caitlin Walsh plays Mrs. Fairfax, who she says, “serves as a way to remind Jane of the patriarchal society she lives in. Where Jane seeks some sort of change, Mrs. Fairfax would rather have things stay the same. I find it interesting how many Mrs. Fairfaxes I see in my own life; a lot of people around me prefer to stay on the fence about current events. While they don’t directly oppose it, they aren’t exactly for it, either.”

In contrast, Sophomore Sarah Amrine says “My character, Mary Rivers, and her sister Diana serve as role models of single but independent women, which was not common in this time period.” She believes this is another way that “this show is still very relevant for audiences in modern times.”

“This show is powerful for everyone,” adds Ms. Walsh. “There’s romance, action, inner turmoil, and so much more than meets the eye. It encourages people to fight for what they believe in. Working on this show has been incredible for me. I’ve had the chance to look at the world from not just my own, new viewpoint, but from those of other actors and their characters alike.”

Performances of “Jane Eyre” are at 7:00 pm on February 23 and 24, and 2:00 pm on February 25. Tickets cost $10 each, and can be purchased online at For more information about the show and the full Anderson Theatre season, visit


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