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The Bronte Family

Rev Patrick Bronte

Two separate full-length plays about the Bronte sisters and their brother
The Thorp Green Scandal
The Bell Brothers
by Reg Mitchell

Lydia Robinson


The Thorp Green Scandal The Brontė children were, for different reasons, unable to hold down any job. Charlotte failed as a governess, Emily as a school teacher and Branwell wasted his talents in several positions. The exception was Anne, the youngest of the family, who managed to retain her second appointment as Governess to the daughters of the Robinson family. She joined them at Thorp Green, near York in the summer of 1840. Returning home to the Haworth parsonage, Anne fell under the spell of the new curate, William Weightman, who had something of a reputation with the ladies. He died of cholera. Two years later, Branwell joined his sister as tutor to the young Edmund Roninson, but became besotted with Mrs Lydia Robinson, seventeen years his senior. They had a three-year affair before Branwell was dismissed by her husband. Anne resigned her post, writing that she had some very unpleasant and undreamt-of experiences of human nature during her five years at Thorp Green. Branwell took to drugs and drink, fell into a decline, eventually drinking himself to death at the age of thirty-one. He died in his fathers arms.

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The Bell Brothers: The Brontė children were unemployed. Charlotte had returned chastened from her teaching post in Brussels, Emily had left her teaching post in Halifax,  and Anne had resigned her position as Governess to the Robinson's daughters. All except Emily had suffered the pangs of unrequited love. When Charlotte came across Emily's poems she had the idea of publishing a selection of their poetry, which they did under the pen name of the Bell Brothers. Although a failure, their three novels became instant successes, taking the literary scene by storm. But success was followed by tragedy with the death of Emily from tuberculosis. Anne also fell to the disease a few months later leaving Charlotte the only surviving child of the Rev Patrick. During the publication of three more novels, she became the toast of the London literati, whilst her relationship with her young publisher blossomed, only to be later doomed to failure. Against her fathers wishes, Charlotte married his curate, Arthur Nichols.

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Both plays require a cast of four men and four women who undertake other smaller parts.

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