NEWCASTLE — Heartwood Theater is back. Live theater is back. Audiences are back. And tickets are going like hotcakes for Kate Hamill’s modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s most popular novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” running July 30 through Aug. 7.

This version isn’t “your grandmother’s Austen.”  It’s bold, surprising, boisterous – packed with traditional slapstick comedy, plot twists and giddy romance.  Hamill’s contemporary take on a beloved traditional classic, “Pride and Prejudice” captures the delightful madhouse of Bennet family dynamics, and the cast is spot on.

Cast and crew are led by Director Griff Braley, whose longtime directorial trademark is a relentless push for ensemble and dedication to the script, the author’s intent, the words.

Well-suited to this approach is Ray Huth as Mr. Darcy. A newcomer to Heartwood’s stage, Huth is a solid addition to this ensemble; the remaining 13 actors are well known and loved by Heartwood audiences. Nearly all have worked onstage together numerous times over the years (seven of them having come up through the student ranks of theater at Lincoln Academy and Heartwood). As a result, their synergy, comfort and confidence in one another is palpable.

Austen’s leading lady, Lizzie Bennet, is played by Jenny Brown from Topsham, alongside sisters Jane (Helena Farhi), Mary (Rachael Schuster) and Lydia (Honora Boothby) and dearest friend Charlotte (May Halm). The roles of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are brought to life by W. Joseph Cote of Camden and Nanette Fraser. Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley are portrayed by Joe Lugosch and Mary Boothby, with Ryan Kohnert as Mr. Collins and Nick Miaoulis in the role of Wickham. Lady Catherine is powered by Lainey Catalino, and Jonah Daiute doubles as her daughter, Miss de Bourgh, and a servant.

Technical elements enhance the action with delightful, fun period costumes by Heidi Kopishke; tech direction and set building by Ryan Kohnert; and additional set and props work, light and sound by Annalise Garnett and Ben Schwink, paid interns at Heartwood.

“Pride and Prejudice” provides a joyful return to theater for actors and audience alike.

Performances are July 30, 31 and Aug. 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Poe Theater at Lincoln Academy, 81 Academy Hill Road. Student tickets are $5, sponsored by Peapod Jewelry; adult tickets are $30. Reserve tickets by emailing or phoning 563-1373. Visit for more information.

“Pride and Prejudice” is sponsored by Moody’s Diner and Heartwood’s longstanding Season Sponsor, Bath Savings Institution.