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Hunt on for actress to take on historic Northumberland play

Theatre group looking for a leading lady for a play based on Victorian stories set in north Northumberland

Wilson's Tales team member Joe Lang with a costume from the Paxton House collection, in the room where The Monomaniac will be performed
Wilson's Tales team member Joe Lang with a costume from the Paxton House collection, in the room where The Monomaniac will be performed

A theatre company is looking for a leading lady for its play based around historic Northumberland tales.

Next month, a performance of some of Wilson’s Tales will see actors taking over the rooms of Paxton House.

The Wilson’s Tales Project will revive the stories of 19th century Berwick playwright John Mackay Wilson in the different rooms of the 18th century mansion, which sits alongside the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders.

Wilson’s Tales of the Borders is a collection of stories and ballads set in North Northumberland and was published weekly from 1834 in the Berwick Advertiser newspaper.

Republished in various multiple-volume editions, they became national best-sellers – and remained in print until well into the 20th century.

Director Joe Lang, of the Wilson Tales Project committee, said: “I think 19th century drama is by modern standards melodramatic but is still filled with danger, doom and heroism.

“The play was written to take place in a historic house, so I think the mood at Paxton Mansion will create a new level of atmosphere”.

Now, the theatre company hopes to fill the lead role of The Monomaniac, a tale exploring a 20-year-old woman’s psychological reaction to her husband’s murder.

Mr Lang explained: “It’s a very short piece that is intense and character-centred.

“It is not an understated drama and we need someone who can deliver a good 15 minutes of terror and grief. A quivering lower lip is not essential but would be a tremendous asset.”

The tale has been dramatised by local author Michael Fenty. And as well as providing the setting for the performance, Paxton House will also let the performers choose their wardrobe from its legendary collection of historic costumes.

Mr Lang said: “I encourage people to research the Wilson Tales Project and I hope the performances will help create new interpretations for a modern audience.”

If you are interested in taking part in ‘The Monomaniac’ contact Joe Lang at joe@joelang.com

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