Stacia Rice plays Jane Eyre at the Guthrie

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Stacia Rice first won acclaim for her acting as a toddler, when she performed air guitar at her older sister’s house party.

Twin Cities native has taken that love into the leading role in the Guthrie Theater’s Jane Eyre, a tale of romance and suspense opening September 8 at the Guthrie. “I am deeply honored to have the title role at the Guthrie. I am also incredibly honored to play a character as deep and rich as Jane Eyre,” said Rice.

Rice’s first acting role was at age 12 in the Children’s Theater Company’s production of She knew then she wanted to be an actor and soon received the encouragement and support of her parents and six older siblings.

Rice enjoyed reading, writing and drawing as a child, but as she approached graduation from Edina High School, her interest in academics waned. Rice, “just knew that this [acting] is what I loved.”

After graduation, she worked in advertising by day. At night, she studied acting with private instructors. She landed small roles in assorted local comedies until John Miller-Stephany, Associate Artistic Director at the Guthrie and the director of “Jane Eyre,” discovered Rice and cast her in Othello. She has worked steadily in theater since then, and has also founded the Torth Theater Company in Minneapolis.

Rice admires her character’s strength and spirit. “Jane Eyre represents the pride in being a strong woman, but she also represents my personal fears,” reflected Rice. “There’s no money, no fine clothing, no physical beauty, yet she [Jane Eyre] is strong, smart, wise and kind.”

This adaptation of Jane Eyre by Alan Stanford “allows me to exist in Jane’s world. I can open up and be overtaken by her story,” noted Rice. She admires Jane Eyre’s strong moral attitudes. “I would love to be that way. I would love to share Jane’s kindness for humans, but I cannot claim to be as morally steadfast,” said Rice.

Rice lives in St. Louis Park with her husband, their yellow Labrador and two cats. She expects to see about 35 members of her Twin Cities extended family in the Guthrie on opening night.

Jennifer Holder, Ed.D., a retired bank executive from St. Paul, contributes regularly to the TC Daily Planet and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.