A brand new play about the Brontë sisters had its world premiere in January – at hairdressing salons in Keighley and Bradford. Jane Hair The Brontës Restyled features modern day versions of the siblings working in a hair salon and writing in their spare time. Plans are already underway to tour Jane Hair across the region and take this site specific performance
about three Bradford lasses who took the literary world by storm to literary and arts festivals up and down the country.

Jane Hair is the brainchild of writer Kirsty Smith from Oakworth, and Bradford born actress Kat Rose Martin. Their 45 minute interactive play follows the story of how Charlotte, Emily and Anne rose to fame. Audience members will be treated as salon clients, with some being invited to sit in the stylists chairs and have their hair styled by the actors themselves.

Branwell is also working alongside his sisters in the salon, on reception – where he’s been banned from accessing petty cash. Older sister Charlotte is a would-be screenwriter and the driving force behind the sisters’ quest for creative recognition. Anne is writing about feminism and social issues on her Wildfella blog, while slam poet Emily would rather be wandering the moors with her dogs than inside cutting hair.

Producers are also planning a very special performance in Haworth later in 2018 as part of the ongoing Brontë Bicentenary celebrations. “We’d like to rework the play and change things up a bit to make it unique for Haworth. The challenge is finding a suitable venue – we might have to head outside, Emily would love that!” explained Kirsty Smith.

“Branwell is also working alongside his sisters in the salon, on reception – where he’s been banned from accessing petty cash”

Jane Hair: The Brontës Restyled
Northern Life cover star Natalie Gavin

The idea to write about Charlotte, Emily and Anne was sparked when Kirsty attended a session at a literary festival where an eminent Brontë professor mis-pronounced ‘Haworth’ throughout his entire session, and then went on to mention a pub that ‘used to be at the top of ‘Main Street’ called The Black Bull. “I thought if he can write about The Brontës, why can’t I?” The Brontë story is a great inspiration for people from Yorkshire, these three young women from Bradford – who no one expected anything from – used determination, talent and true Yorkshire grit to become the most famous literary family in the world. People flock from across the globe to visit Haworth – we should be very proud of what they achieved.”

Writer Kat Rose- Martin will also play Emily Brontë. Kat has previously toured with Northern Broadsides on ‘When We Are Married’ and ‘For Love or Money’. A former pupil of Buttershaw School, she is keen that everyone in the region should celebrate the sisters’ achievements whether they are fans of the books or not. “We wanted to introduce Charlotte, Emily and Anne to people who have never read any of their books and hopefully show you can still be proud of what they achieved, even if you don’t know your Wuthering Heights from your Wildfell Hall,” she adds.

The play has been developed with money from The Arts Council and The Brontë Parsonage. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives, helping create experiences for as many people as possible across the
country.

To create the show, and make sure the story of the sisters remained relevant for a modern audience, the writers worked with a team of talented northern actors – including Brontë fan and Northern Life cover star Natalie Gavin. As well as being an introduction to the Brontë’s life story, Jane Hair also contains plenty of detail to entertain and engage die-hard fans, from the
Kiss and Tell article written by jealous vlogger Lizzy G aka Elizabeth Gaskell, to the salons colour chart offering up Red Room Red, Linton Blonde and, of course, Heathcliff black.

‘We want people to see beyond the faces on tins of biscuits and tea towels and get to know the sisters, and Branwell as individuals.’ Kirsty explained.

Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring tweeted ‘Oh My Giddy Aunt, it’s tempting to jump on a train right now to go see this!’ but Northern audiences just need to keep an eye on www.janehair.co.uk and @janehairplay on Twitter for details of future dates.

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