Skip to main content

Tennessee Wesleyan theatre program presents Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”


The Tennessee Wesleyan theatre program will present its spring production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” in April. Opening April 1, with performances April 2, 3, 8 and 9, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a satire of high society in Victorian England.

“I have wanted to do a full production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ for a long time,” Director C. Austin Hill said. “As a scholar of Irish theatre, I am a huge fan of Oscar Wilde and his particularly irreverent form of social satire. Wilde’s knack for sticking it to Victorian British high society—a world in which he never quite fit—is second to none, save, perhaps, his fellow Irishman George Bernard Shaw.”

The production features a cast of Tennessee Wesleyan students and alumni, as well as members of the Athens theatre community. The story follows two sets of lovers trying to find their way through life in Victorian London, encountering obstacles along the way. The tale of Jack and Gwendolyn and Algernon and Cecily present ideas and issues that remain poignant, even more than 100 years after the play’s first performance in 1895.

“What makes this play all the more enticing right now, in 2016 America, is that we are still struggling with many of the social issues that Wilde was sending up in 1895 England,” Hill said. “We operate in a time of ideological discontent and at a time when a huge part of the public simply cannot understand the lifestyles of the wildly wealthy. We are working through a renegotiation of religio-political identities, of the meaning behind many of our longest-held traditions, and of the fabric that holds our society together.”

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with the daytime show on April 3 beginning at 3:00 p.m., and will last approximately two hours with one intermission. Tickets will be sold at the door for cash only. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and non-TWC students, and free for all Tennessee Wesleyan students, faculty and staff with school identification.

Tennessee Wesleyan College, founded in Athens, Tenn., in 1857, is a comprehensive liberal arts institution affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The college’s dedicated faculty and staff believe in providing the resources and support students need to become socially responsible, intellectually skilled and spiritually developed members of our community. For additional information about Tennessee Wesleyan College, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at