Jane Austen


“There were only twelve dances, of which I danced nine, and was merely prevented from dancing the rest by want of a partner...”
—Letter to Cassandra, 20-1 November 1800

Jane Austen was born in Hampshire, England on December 16, 1775. Her parents were George Austen, the rector of Steventon Parish, and Cassandra Leigh. She was sent away to school with her sister Cassandra for a short period of time, but was mostly educated at home by her parents, who also ran a small school there. She was a precocious child and began her literary career at a very early age by writing parodies and skits for the amusement of her large family. Jane was happy in the Steventon Rectory, and when it was announced that the family would move to Bath in 1801 for the sake of her father’s health, it is said that she fainted dead away. George Austen passed away in 1805, and Jane, Cassandra and their mother traveled from family house to family house until they found a home, first in Southampton, and finally at Chawton, Hampshire in 1809. Although Austen did not marry, she did have several suitors, and once accepted a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither—but only for one evening! In 1816, her health began to deteriorate, and on July 18, 1817, Jane Austen died in Winchester of either Addison’s disease or a lymphoma like Hodgkin’s disease.

Jane Austen was just 20 years old in 1795 when she wrote Elinor and Marianne, which was not published until 1811 when it appeared in a revised version titled Sense and Sensibility. In 1796-7, she wrote First Impressions, an early version of Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions was offered to a publisher who refused it. Susan, an early version of Northanger Abbey, was written in 1798-9 and sold to Crosby Publications in 1803 for ten pounds. Crosby never published this book and Austen bought it back in 1816.  Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 and Mansfield Park in 1814. Initially the authorship of these novels was credited to “A Person of Quality.” Austen’s authorship was not openly acknowledged until Emma was published in 1815, dedicated (at her publisher’s insistence) to the Prince Regent. Persuasion was finished in 1816, but not published until after her death. Left unfinished was her new novel about a collection of eccentrics and invalids, called Sanditon. Both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published in 1818 by her brother Henry, with a brief biographical note which publicly announced Jane’s authorship.

Jane Austen is considered one of the greatest writers in English; of such superior quickness of wit and intuition that, nearly two centuries after her death, she has never been surpassed. She is now one of the most loved and revered of all writers, male or female.

Production Team

SUSAN PILAR (Co-Director) Susan has appeared as an actress on Broadway in: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Lincoln Center) Off Broadway: Timon of Athens (The Public Theatre) Three Birds Alighting of a Field (Manhattan Theatre Club), Thicker Than Water (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Trudy Blue (Actor’s Studio) Regional: Summer and Smoke(Guthrie Theatre), Good (American Conservatory Theatre, Signature (Passage Theatre), The Shakespeare Theatre  (DC).  TV/Film:  Law and Order, Cosby, One Life to Live, Guiding Light. Another World, As The World Turns, Film: Waiting Room, Circles, Education: MFA Acting from American Conservatory Theatre.  Currently: Teaching & directing at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and T. Schreiber Studios.

AMY STOLLER (Co-Director) always enjoys working with Karen Eterovich and Susan Pilar, with whom she previously collaborated on Love Arm’d, Aphra Behn and Her Pen. An award-winning dialect coach and sole proprietor of Stoller System, LLC, she has been Resident Dialect Designer/Coach (and occasional Dramaturge) at Off-Broadway’s Mint Theater Company since 1996, and works regularly as a production dialect designer and coach on New York, regional, and touring productions, including several premieres by Anna Deavere Smith. Film and television includes Let Me Down Easy, WWII in HD, Dora the Explorer, and linguistic research for the episode “911” on Law & Order: SVU. She is also in demand for workshops and seminars at university acting programs, NYC acting studios, and organizations ranging from the UPenn Linguistics Department to the NY Tenement Museum. Amy is proud to be an Associate Officer of VASTA, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.

Marie Cocheo Natali (Costume Designer) An adjunct professor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey, Ms. Natali studied fashion and costuming at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio and did an internship at the Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio in costuming and restoration.  She has costumed over 70 productions from Shakespearean to period classics. 

Dr. Amy E. Smith (Jane Austen Advisor) received her Ph.D. from Penn State in English and has a BA in Music.  She has published articles on travel, gothic literature, and on Jane Austen and also teaches business and technical writing at Pacific.  Dr. Smith is currently in South America conducting Austen reading groups in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Ecuador, with the hopes of pulling together a book on the venture.  In her non-academic moments, Dr. Smith raises show-breed chickens.

Production History

Location Dates
First Workshop - University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA  November 2005
Pace University, Pleasantville, NY   March 2006
New York Premiere - The Players, New York City, NY April 2006
UK Premiere - The Jane Austen Festival, Bath, England September 2006
Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV November 2006
Garage Theatre Group SoloFest, Teaneck, NJ January 2007
Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL   January 2007
Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V, Ames, IA  January 2007
Wesley College, Dover, DE February 2007
Glen Rock Library, Glen Rock, NJ March 2007
St. Louis Community College Meramec, St. Louis, MO  March 2007
Columbia College, Columbia, SC September 2007
Mission Theatre, Bath, England in repertory with Love Arm'd October 9-13, 2007
Hanover College, Hanover, IN October 2007
Simpson College, Indianola, IA November 2007
Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN November 2007
Central Florida Community College, Ocala, FL January 2008
New York Society Library, New York, NY December 12, 2009
Glen Rock Public Library, Glen Rock, NJ September 7, 2010

10th Annual Jane Austen Festival, BATH, UK

* Featured Performer, Festival Finale

September 25, 2010
Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA March 9, 2011
Episcopal Actors' Guild, NY, NY April 14, 2011
South Carolina Repertory Theatre, Hilton Head, SC May 3-8, 2011
Southbury Public Library, Southbury, CT June 3, 2011

4th Annual Jane Austen Festival, Louisville, KY

*Featured Performer

July 9-10, 2011


Love Arm'd Productions - Karen Eterovich.