The Show

Sense and Sensibility is a story about two young women trying to navigate the mountains of Push, Pull, Desire, Love, Loss, and Strength under the scrutiny of the gossiping society around them. While Elinor approaches the love in her life with restraint and caution, her sister Marianne jumps in head first and throws caution to the wind. This hilarious adaptation of the Jane Austen classic follows them on their journey, packed with farcical characters and events and bursting at the seams with colour, movement and music.

Kate Hamill

Kate Hamill is an actor/playwright. Wall Street Journal’s Playwright of the Year, 2017. Her work includes her play SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (in which she originated the role of Marianne)—Winner, Off-Broadway Alliance Award 2016; Nominee, Drama League Award; 265+ performances off-Broadway. Other plays include VANITY FAIR at the Pearl Theatre (in which she originated the role of Becky Sharp; Nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award 2017), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Primary Stages and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (originated the role of Lizzy Bennet; Nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award). Her plays have been produced off-Broadway, at A.R.T., Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie, Seattle Rep, Dallas Theater Center, PlayMaker’s Rep, Folger Theatre (8 Helen Hayes Award nominations; Winner, best production—S&S), Arvada Center and others; upcoming productions at Shakespeare Theatre of DC, A.C.T., Trinity Rep, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Pittsburgh Public, Kansas City Rep, Dorset Theatre Festival and more. Upcoming world premieres: LITTLE WOMEN at the Jungle Theater and Primary Stages; MANSFIELD PARK at Northlight Theatre. She is currently working on new adaptations of “The Odyssey” and “The Scarlet Letter,” as well as several new original plays (PROSTITUTE PLAY, IN THE MINES, LOVE POEM). Kate was one of the top 20 most-produced playwrights in the country this season. Learn more.

The Setting

Barton College

After their eviction from Norland Park, Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret rent a modest cottage from Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin Sir John Middleton in Barton Park.
“As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles.” (28)

Sense and Sensibility 1995 movie

Sense and Sensibility 2008 BBC series

Annie May Swift, a similar building on Northwestern’s campus

Set design preliminary sketch

Norland Park

The Dashwoods’ old property, taken over by John Dashwood and his snobby wife Fanny due to Regency-era inheritance laws.
“Mrs. John Dashwood now installed herself mistress of Norland; and her mother and sisters-in-law were degraded to the condition of visitors.” (8)

Sense and Sensibility 1995 movie

Sense and Sensibility 2008 BBC series

Lunt Hall, a similar building on Northwestern’s campus

Set design preliminary sketch

Set design preliminary sketch


A number of families with country estates also hold London residences, including Mrs. Jennings and John and Fanny Dashwood. However, it’s no quick jaunt: in 1811, a trip from Barton Park to the city would have been a 1-3 day, 253 mile journey costing 1000 pounds ($1364).
“It is very right that you should go to town; I would have every young woman of your condition in life, acquainted with the manners and amusements of London.” (156)

Sense and Sensibility 1995 movie

Sense and Sensibility 2008 BBC series

Fisk Hall, a similar building on Northwestern’s campus

Set design preliminary sketch

The Characters

Elinor. The sensible Dashwood sister; 19.

Marianne. The sensitive Dashwood sister; 16.

Margaret. The youngest of the Dashwood sisters; 13. Idyllic, energetic, youthful, and lighthearted.

Mrs. Dashwood. The Dashwood sisters' mother; evicted from the family home with her daughters upon her husband's death.

Colonel Brandon. An older bachelor captivated by Marianne.

Edward Ferrars A young bachelor with a good heart.

John Dashwood Half-brother to the Dashwood sisters from the late Mr. Dashwood; inherits the Dashwood estate.

Fanny Ferrars Dashwood John Dashwood's less-than-pleasant wife; confusingly, also Edward's sister.

Sir John Middleton Mrs. Dashwood's cousin; he allows her to rent a cottage on his property.

Mrs. Jennings Sir John's spirited mother-in-law.

Lady Middleton Sir John's reserved wife.

John Willoughby Edward and Fanny's brother.

Lucy Steele A young woman of little means and large schemes.

Anne Steele Lucy's sister; can't seem to hold her tongue.