Cate Nunn talks about directing Sense and Sensibility for the Oxford Theatre Guild, and how she held off until she found Jessica Swale’s adaptation

There’s a magic in Sense and Sensibility which never seems to fade, no matter how much time passes since it was written, or how many times you re-read it. The story of sensible, reserved Elinor, and passionate, impulsive Marianne is an enchanting tale of romance triumphing against the odds.

But Sense and Sensibility is more than a love story – it’s also the story of the unbreakable bond between these two very different sisters. After their father dies and they’re left almost penniless, the two girls have to leave their beloved family home and start a new life, and they soon discover that their virtues and intelligence count for almost nothing in a society that values wealth and status above all else.

But their loyalty to each other never falters, and their relationship is the core of this heart-warming story. It’s one of my favourite novels, and I’d wanted to direct a stage version for years – but it wasn’t until I read Jessica Swale’s adaptation that I found one which captured the spirit of the novel, balancing witty dialogue with heartfelt emotion. As soon as I read it, I knew it was the one!

It’s been quite a responsibility taking on such well-loved characters. Many people in our audience are going to know the book inside out, so we’ve been working hard to make sure the characters are true to the novel. We’ve got two smart, strong heroines, charming heroes, a devastatingly sexy villain, a lovable pair of mischief-makers, cold-hearted snobs, a scheming minx, and more.

Bringing them to life has been a riot for me and the cast – and with such a witty script, there’s been a lot of laughter in the rehearsal room. It’s been an absolute joy to take the Dashwoods and their friends and relations through the ballroom dramas, sword fights, financial ruin, seduction, joys and heartache which litter the path to true love and happy endings (at least, for some of them!).

Stornoway’s Jon Ouin is returning to OTG with a beautiful, original score, and I have gorgeous costumes and set to sweep you into the elegant world of Regency England, and the timeless tale of two chalk-and-cheese sisters trying to make their way in the world. Oxford Playhouse, March 8-12, 01865 305035 or