Blake Morrison

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Plays by Blake Morrison

We are Three Sisters

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Blake Morrison's We are Three Sisters is a play about the lives of the Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne – that also draws on Anton Chekhov’s play, Three Sisters, in which three sisters trapped in a provincial army barrack town long for the vitality of Moscow. It was first performed in a production by Northern Broadsides at the Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough, Halifax, on 9 September 2011, followed by a UK tour.

The play is set in Haworth, West Yorkshire, in the 1840s. In the gloomy parsonage, Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë light up their world with outspoken wit, aspirations, dreams and ideas. Throughout their confined lives, and despite the tyrannical hold over them of their drunk and disorderly brother Branwell, they dream of London, and they write.

In an Author's Note included in the published text, Morrison writes: 'Though much of the play is based on real events in the Brontës’ lives, and some of the words spoken are ones they used, many alterations have been made, not least to chronology. ... We are Three Sisters uses the template of Chekhov’s Three Sisters but in places departs radically from it – nothing resembling Act Four exists in the original.'

The Northern Broadsides production was directed by Barrie Rutter and designed by Jessica Worrall. The cast was Catherine Kinsella, Rebecca Hutchinson, Sophia Di Martino, Duggie Brown, John Branwell, Eileen O’Brien, Marc Parry, Gareth Cassidy, Barrie Rutter and Becky Hindley.

Picture of Blake Morrison

© Charlotte Knee

Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, and educated at Nottingham University, McMaster University and University College, London. After working for the Times Literary Supplement, he went on to become literary editor of both the Observer and the Independent on Sunday before becoming a full-time writer in 1995. Since then, he has translated and adapted five hugely successful plays which were all commissioned and performed by Northern Broadsides Theatre Company: The Cracked Pot in 1996 (an adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s Der Zerbrochene Krug); Sophocles’ Oedipus in 2001; Antigone in 2003; The Man with Two Gaffers, a version of Carlo Goldoni’s comedy The Servant of Two Masters, in 2006; and in 2007 Lisa’s Sex Strike, which transforms Aristophanes’ classic farce Lysistrata, into a contemporary comedy set in a northern mill town. Currently Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, London, Blake is also a poet, novelist and journalist, who first came to public attention with his controversial collection The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper, but is more widely known for two family memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? (which became a film starring Colin Firth, Juliet Stevenson and Jim Broadbent), and Things My Mother Never Told Me. His most recent book is a novel (his third to date), The Last Weekend, a psychological thriller set in East Anglia which came out in paperback earlier this year.