The New York-based Aquila Theatre company is bringing its national tour of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" to the Manship Theatre on Feb. 23.

Director Desiree Sanchez believes the timing is right to expose more audiences to Austen's work. 

"'Sense and Sensibility' is exciting for us, because we're able to send out the work of a female author," she says. "Sometimes we think women need more of a voice, but women have great representation in her writing."

"Sense and Sensibility," published in 1811, follows the Dashwood sisters, who move with their widowed mother from their Norland Park estate upon their father's death.

"Imagine these women," Sanchez says. "They are forced from their home, because they are not allowed to inherit it. The house goes to their brother, and their only options in life depend on who they marry."

Austen's storytelling is complex. She opens the door to the Dashwood sisters' hearts, showing not only who they really are but how they maintain their dignity. And how they are able to rise above their circumstances through their inner strength to determine their own fates.

"It's also an examination of how these two women approach things differently," Sanchez says. 

The same cast of eight will also give two school performances of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" on Feb. 21-22.

"We usually tour a Shakespeare play, but this year we're doing Shakespeare only for school groups while we're in Baton Rouge," says Sanchez. "And the same cast always performs both when we have two plays."

Sense and Sensibility

An Aquila Theatre performance

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23.

WHERE: Manship Theatre, Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.

TICKETS/INFO: $15-$45, plus fees. (225) 344-0334 or

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