AN open-air adaptation of a classic Jane Austen novel is being staged to help to raise cash for Colchester’s new cancer centre.

Dot Productions will be staging Northanger Abbey on Mersea next month in aid of the appeal.

What is described as a Gothic story of love, betrayal and murder will be played out in the garden of supporters Peter and Liz Clements, High Acre, in Firs Road, West Mersea, on August 11 and 12.

Last year, Colchester General Hospital launched a public appeal to raise enough money to bring all its cancer services – including chemotherapy and radiotherapy – together in one building.

The new centre would be built on top of the existing radiotherapy centre and would cost about £4.5 million.

Mr Clements said: “The play is being staged in our garden. The house is quite old, so it looks rather good and will make it a very enjoyable evening.”

Mr Clements said the show had been inspired by the number of grand houses which now acted as venues for performances and films screenings.

He added: “Northanger Abbey is a very famous Jane Austen play, so to have something like this will makealovely event for a summer’s evening.”

Last month, the couple organised a Waterloo Ball, marking the 200th anniversary of the famous victory over Napoleon, also in aid of the Cancer Centre Campaign.

It raised £9,086.

Mr Clements hopes the forthcoming event will generate another £1,000, taking the couple’s fundraising total over the £10,000 mark.

He said: “Anything which makes the experience of cancer treatment more bearable has to good.”

The show starts at 7.30pm each evening, with a bar and raffle and the gardens and bar open from 6.45pm. Guest are asked to bring their own folding garden chairs.

Tickets are £12 and available from Marfleets, in West Mersea High Street and from the couple by calling 01206 382435 or emailing

THE Cancer Centre Campaign, which is supported by the Gazette, is aiming to create a £4.5million cancer centre where cancer treatments and support services can be administered on the same site.

To donate £10, text GAZE11 £10 (or an amount of your choice) to 70070.

Cheques can be made payable to CoHoC Cancer Centre Campaign and sent to Colchester Hospitals Charity, Villa 10, Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5JL.

Donations can also be made online at