A Soham drama group did not have to look too far to find someone to play the vicar in its latest production.
The Rev Tim Alban Jones, vicar of St Andrew’s Church, will be taking the role of clergyman, Mr Collins, in the Viva adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice.
And he should feel at home when he steps out on stage as the production, which opens tonight and runs until Saturday, is being performed in his church.
“There’s a certain elegant symmetry to it but I hope that I am not the clergyman in real life that I am playing in the play,” he said.
Vicar of St Andrew’s for the past 14 years, Mr Alban Jones admitted he had not acted since leaving school.
“I was nervous at having to audition as I’ve not acted for about 35-40 years,” he said.
“There are some of the most memorable characters in English literature in it. It’s jam packed with naughty humour. Mr Collins is so ridiculous the whole way through.”
Daniel Schumann, 33, founder and artistic director of Viva, said: “We thought it would be a nice link with the church to have him in and it’s a bit of a public relations coup.
“He had to audition for the part but he got it on his own terms. He’s very good.”
The cast also includes Soham district and county councillors James Palmer and Josh Schumann and former Soham Village College drama head David Pickner.
Daniel said he was looking forward to the curtain going up in the church.
“We thought it would be an original idea because it’s an old and beautiful building. It’s the first play in the church for many years, as long as I can remember.”
Mr Alban Jones added: “The church would have been used for much other than services on a Sunday, all sorts of things in times gone by, so we are going back.”
The show’s director and founder of the adult wing of Viva group, Sarah Dowd-Crosby, added: “It will be an incredible experience inside the church.
“It’s funny, romantic, it ticks all the boxes for Jane Austen fans and people who like a comedy experience.”