Theatre and Dance to present ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’

Published October 11, 2019

The Department of Theatre and Dance presents “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” Oct. 23-27 in the Black Box Theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The show is directed by Vincent O’Neill, associate professor of theatre, and artistic director and co-founder of the Irish Classical Theatre Company.  

“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” is a dramatization by Jay Presson Allen of Muriel Spark’s highly successful novel of the same name. The 1969 film garnered its star, Maggie Smith, an Oscar for her portrayal of the central role and made her a household name decades before she played the hugely familiar Dowager Countess in “Downton Abbey.”

Jean Brodie is an uninhibited teacher at a 1930s girls’ school in Edinburgh, Scotland. Determined that her students receive an education in the most visceral way, she provides them with lessons about love, life, travel and art amid the perils of rising European fascism.

“I chose this play to direct for the UB Department of Theatre and Dance because it has a brilliant plot and wonderful acting roles for our BFA Theatre Performance students, especially with regard to the number of female roles,” O’Neill says. “The theme is sadly relevant today with the rise of populism, and even fascism in many parts of the world.

“The play also deals with the universal struggle between individual freedom and society’s restrictions, between the value of arts and humanities versus math and science, and between the opposing forces in the human condition of romanticism and pragmatism,” he explains.

“In any case, the play remains, more than a half-century since it was written, a delightfully warm, human, humorous and dramatically powerful vehicle.”

Tickets for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” are $20 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. They are available at the Center for the Arts ticket office, online and at the door one hour before the show.