The Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton, June 10, 11,12, 17, 18 and 19, July 1, 2 and 3

Tickets £10/£7, family £30, all performances at 7.15pm (except July 2 at 2pm), doors open 45 minutes prior for picnics, call 01243 811021 or 01243 813595

DESPITE being an adaptation of an adaptation, the team behind a reworking of a classic play are hoping its new outdoor setting will transport viewers back in time.

Telling the story of a nobleman enlisted into the French Army, Cyrano De Bergerac may have been written in 1897 but has yielded several retellings, including one by the late playwright, actor and satirist John Wells.

The adaptation of Wells, who had roots in Eastbourne and Bognor and in his later years lived in a farmhouse near Plumpton, was performed in the 1980s in London's West End. It saw Robert Lindsay, later of BBC sitcom My Family fame, in the title role.

Now a group called The Company is taking the reworking by Wells to bring Cyrano to the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton, near Chichester.

The theme of this tale of Cyrano, like the original and its varied spin-offs, revolves around the lead character having an extremely large nose that leaves him with self-doubt and cripples expressions of love.

Stephen Israel, joint artistic director of The Company, feels Edmond Rostand's original tale of love, swashbuckling honour, torn allegiances and personal insecurities is still relevant and hopes it will be thought-provoking yet funny.

He says, "In a world where everyone is obsessed about self-image, it feels right to be producing this play that has so much to say about body image and body dysmorphia."

The object of Cyrano's desire is beautiful and intelligent heiress Roxane, but he believes his ugliness denies him the opportunity.

And then Roxane has her own problems, Stephen adds: "We wanted to give voice to Roxane’s terrible predicament, as she is trampled by the men she loves."

One of the best-known versions of the play is the 1987 rom-com Roxanne featuring comic legend Steve Martin as the US fire chief with an elongated conk who writes love letters to the eponymous girl about town, played by Daryl Hannah.

While the setting in Singleton is far removed from the US movie, Stephen believes the Sussex downland will capture the imagination and reinvent the play once again.

He says, "One of the most beautiful plays of all time deserves one of the most beautiful venues, and performing in our own medieval market square brings the audience inside the world of Cyrano.

"The audience move with the action from the market place to a shop and on to the romantic balcony, all within the same square."

The performance is complemented with a chorus of youngsters who have been working with the production through Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) since the beginning of the year.

The 18-25-year-old participants give their own interpretation of the play and its relevance to them but with blank verse in what Stephen likens to a "Greek chorus".

Stephen also highlighted a fabulous sword fight that has been created by Malcolm Ranson, behind the original Les Miserables fights as well as several shows at the National, RSC and on Broadway.

The cast includes Sussex actors Michael Webber (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and The Secret Of Moonacre), Matt Devitt (Red Dwarf and Return To The Forbidden Planet) and Stuart Goodwin (who has worked with Kneehigh Theatre).

To continue name-dropping, the set and costumes have been designed by Berthe Fortin, who worked on the Dreamthinkspeak production of Before I Sleep, which wowed Brighton Festival audiences at the old Co-op building in 2010.

As well as working with CFT, the outdoor promenade production has been created in association with Pallant House and is supported by Arts Council England and the South Downs National Park.

The Company, a registered charity, saw its last production, Montfort’s March, which took place over a four-and-a-half-mile walk of the South Downs, awarded an Argus Angel award.

Organisers have said attendees should bring suitable clothing for the weather and stated that audiences will stand for much of the performance.

Adrian Imms