In the first half of the play I bring to life Austen’s characters in an adaptation which is some 90% of pure Austen dialogue.  In the interval the audience can decide what they would do with the Austen characters, and then in the second half we see how Anna Lefroy, ‘Jane Austen’s first fan’ started to move the plot forward. I of course, provide my own solution, based on a consideration of Austen’s inspirations at the time of writing and real life historical events and provide a conclusion.

I would love to see the play go on and be performed by other groups and theatres. For a limited time I have a group of actors familiar with the play who would like to perform it in other locations, and I am, as they say, open to licensing and performance offers.

I will publish a hard-copy version of the play, and an e-version. For the time being copies of the script are available from me at price £25.


The play was first performed as “a blocked, script-in-hand, production in costume, with full lighting and sound tech backing” at Colchester’s Headgate Theatre on Friday 27th June, and was a huge success. We had four cameras running to record the presentation and showed a 10 minute short location shot film at the relevant place in the second half.  We subsequently edited all the footage together to get the complete Sanditon Story. We added theme music, a filmed beginning, composed a suitable duet “Blue Briny Sea” to start the second half and filmed it being performed on the 1828 Stodart Grand piano in Chawton House Library.

The resulting Film-of-the-Play is available on Vimeo


I still wanted to tell the story of Anna Lefroy, so this became a Documentary explored in words, landscape and music.  Filmed this glorious Summer of 2014 on location in Hampshire and Berkshire, my leading lady, Amy Burrows, who played Austen’s last heroine Charlotte Heywood, goes to the places where her character was created, and discovers what happened to the story of Sanditon, and how the legend of Jane Austen was founded upon JEAL’s (James Edward Austen Leigh’s) first biography. We see Charlotte Heywood recreating the main moments of inspiration. The music is by JASNA 2014 International Visitors Programme Delegate Amanda Jacobs and was inspired by her visit to England this summer. It includes her setting of Austen’s prayer “Father of Heaven” sung by Amy Burrows and played on the 1828 Stodart Grand piano in Chawton House Library. The Stodart and the 1813 Clementi piano in Chawton Cottage are very much stars of the picture, the Clementi for example telling the story of Anna Lefroy’s walks to Chawton in Jane’s dying months. The documentary also tells the story of JEAL’s inheritance of Scarletts and the Jane Leigh Perrot fortune, and how he lavished much of it on a newly built church at Knowl Hill near Maidenhead, a church now in urgent need of funds for restoration.

The Documentary is available on Vimeo


I would dearly like to make a feature film out of Sanditon. Austen places her characters in a location that will evolve through history:- the English seaside resort in the 19th Century, against fascinating historical themes and the start of the Victorian era. In my view not only a feature film, but a complete saga is possible from the wonderful, carefully chosen character types that Austen created and Lefroy evolved. I have of course started writing, but I will have to see what the world thinks of my stage version first !


In order to get my play performed I became “Casting Director”, “Director” and “Producer” and recruited young professional actors to fill most of the roles. In the process I became fascinated by their world, and finding I can write songs, with the assistance of the hugely talented composer Louise Byrne and arranger/pianist Vicky Clubb, my next project is a musical about 6 young actresses straight out of musical theatre college. It is about the Auditions they go to, and about how life Auditions them in the process. Most probably it will start off as a stage production that I will also film and release for consideration by the world.

For anybody feeling a bit “down” I offer you “Blue Briny Sea”, the 19th Century style duet we wrote together for “Sanditon”

Blue Briny Sea

Chris Brindle

1st December 2014