Working in the Theatre: Adaptation

Adapting work to the stage can be a thrilling experience.  As Dave Malloy, creator of the Great Comet of 1812 says, “The most interesting thing about reading old texts, you know texts that were written a hundred years ago, 500 years ago, thousands of years ago, is how little humans have changed. You know how in all of these classic texts you see these characters doing things and thinking things and saying things that you yourself said just yesterday, or you had friends who did those things as well.”

In this episode of “Working in the Theatre,” we explore the process of adaptation in the theatre.  With exploration of the amazing work of Kate Hamill and her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility at Bedlam in 2016 (directed by Eric Tucker) and traveling through the minds of Dave Malloy’s work on War and Peace and Moby Dick (with direction by Rachel Chavkin), we find out what it takes to find a story for the stage, shape it appropriately, and decide what gets left behind.  

Since the documentary has been filmed, the productions of Sense and Sensibility and the other productions mentioned by Kate Hamill have opened and closed.  

The production of The Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway closed following the filming of this documentary.

For more information on great projects by Kate, visit

For information at Bedlam, visit

American Theatre Wing’s Working in the Theatre documentary series features the most fascinating people on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. From Tony Awards® and Obie Awards® winning artists to the next generation of theatre makers, we capture theatre’s inner-workings, industry luminaries, and unique stories that surround important work.