A HAMPSHIRE based theatre company 2TimeTheatre, presents the world premiere of Meeting Miss Austen, by local author Cecily O'Neill to be performed in Winchester this summer.

Winchester author and playwright Cecily O'Neill has written a production on Austen’s juvenile writing which will be performed on July 8 and 9 at Winchester Discovery Centre as part of this year’s Winchester Festival.

Meeting Miss Austen is Cecily O’Neill’s second collection of plays inspired by Jane Austen’s teenage writings. Anticipating the great comic characters of Austen’s classic novels, alcoholic Alice, snobbish Lady Greville, food-obsessed Charlotte and lovelorn Tom come vividly to life.

Cecily O’Neill said: “I’ve taken Jane Austen’s teenage writings and turned them into three lively, comic plays which form the basis of Meeting Miss Austen. Her talent for creating memorable comic characters is already evident and I’m confident that our cast can more than do it justice.”

Winchester-based director Philip Glassborow said: “We’ve assembled a professional cast who are either all from Hampshire or who have strong ties to the area. Jane Austen’s roots were firmly in Hampshire and we were keen to reflect this in our casting.”

He added: “We’re also delighted that local composer and musician Louise Jordan, based in the New Forest, is joining us as our Musical Director. Jane Austen loved music and we want song and music to be an integral part of the show.”

The cast will play several roles each in this lively production. The cast consists of acclaimed voice-over artist Jilly Bond who has family in Winchester, Portsmouth natives Peter McCrohon and David Parker, Southampton residents Jo Russel and Olivia Sarah Jayne Noyce, and Southampton Solent University Senior Lecturer, Maggie Tarver.

One of the actors, Jilly Bond is a devotee of Jane Austen's writing and took part in a festival celebrating her novels in Bath a few years ago.

She has been an actress for over 30 years, performing at the National in Island as well as numerous other productions most recently at Birmingham Rep, the Lowry Manchester and the Finborough in London.

The production has been supported by a grant from Winchester City Council and is part of the Jane Austen bicentenary celebrations.

The plays are based on Jane Austen's teenage writings from her notebooks entitled Volumes One, Two and Three, which were never published in her lifetime, however they are now in print and the originals are held by the British Library and the Bodleian Library.

The tickets will be on sale at the Discovery Centre and the Winchester Festival Box Office at £10 and £5 for under 18s. For tickets call 01962 857276.