Sisterhood – the Healing Tour of East Anglia
New multimedia play follows the footsteps of self-proclaimed Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins
In the 17th Century the infamous self-proclaimed Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins waged a personal vendetta against women in East Anglia. Seeing Witchcraft everywhere he was determined to use whatever means necessary to convict and execute any woman he suspected. In just three years he was responsible for killing 60% of those executed for witchcraft in the UK.
Sisterhood is a new play by Jolie Booth that follows the East Anglian footsteps of self proclaimed 17th Century Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins. The tour visits Ipswich, Stowmarket, Manningtree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Ely and Norwich. All performance locations have been chosen because they are closely associated with the Hopkins’ reign of terror which saw hundreds of women in East Anglia put to death. In the case of The Maids Head it was chosen for it’s close proximity to Fye Bridge, the oldest bridge in the city. This will put audiences on the spot where a medieval ducking stool was used to test for witches – if the alleged witch failed to drown she was a proven witch and burned to death, if she died on the stool she was declared innocent.
Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds is on the site of Bury St Edmunds assizes, where, in August 1645, 18 women were tried and executed on the flimsiest of evidence at the biggest individual witch trial ever held in the UK.
Hopkins’ reign of terror saw hundreds of women in the region put to death, often by burning and helped him become a rich man.In Sisterhood, three women, aged 20, 40 and 60 are in a church cell, on the night before their trial for Witchcraft.
The play is a gentle but fearless adventure into the dark heart of patriarchal rule. It is split between two timelines, taking in the history of the infamous 17th century witch trials alongside modern-day concerns as women face a world in political and environmental upheaval. Using soothing and passionate storytelling, the stories of the 17th century characters interweave with episodes from the performer’s own lives, revealing an immediate and clear association. The play has been likened to The Handmaids Tale – ‘but with more hope’.
‘insightful and powerful’ ★★★★★ Latest Magazine
With its opening date on a full moon and moving towards Halloween, the play undertakes a ‘Healing tour’ of East Anglia, visiting 10 of the principal locations associated with the Hopkins’ reign of terror. Booth is a local, having grown up in Braintree, Essex, and has spent the last 30 years working as a Tudor at Kentwell Hall Re-Creation in Long Melford, Suffolk.
Jolie Booth said ‘Sisterhood is a call to dis-arm the patriarchy through community, through the world-wide women’s web, to treat our-selves and each other with the respect, grace and honour that Mumma Earth – the divine feminine – requires. In the 15th and 16th Centuries women were set against one another in the notorious witch trials, and there are obvious parallels today. In creating the show I worked with an awesome team of women who have collaborated to play their parts in strengthening the bounds of sisterhood. Together we can all rise up and stand as one against a system that is corrupt, destructive, divisive and has been pushing people and the planet around for far too long…’
Sisterhood is written by Booth and is performed by Jules Craig (Marjorie), Jolie Booth (Alice) & Coco Maertens (Kitty). The play is also being published as a novel by King’s England Press.
‘a superbly written, intelligent, and essential play, masterfully portrayed by its three actresses’ Fringe Review
Story: Simon Franklin [email protected]
Kriya Arts present a ‘Healing Tour’ of locations associated with self-proclaimed Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins for this new multimedia play set amidst the notorious 16th century Witch Trials.
Stowmarket Museum of East Anglian Life, Crowe St, Stowmarket Suffolk IP14 1DL
£9, £8 concessions 01449 612229 www.eastanglianlife.org.uk
Sun 13 Oct 7.30pm
Manningtree Red Lion Inn, 42 South St, Manningtree, Essex CO11 1BG
£9 01206 391880 www.redlionmannigtree.co.uk
Mon 14 & Tues 15 Oct 8pm
Chelmsford The Transition, The Anne Knight Buildings, Park Road, City Park West, Essex CM1 1LW
£9.50 01245 698563 www.kriyaarts.co.uk
Wed 16 Oct 7.30pm
Colchester Colchester Castle, Castle Park, Essex CO1 1TJ
£9.50 01206 282939 www.kriyaarts.co.uk
Thu 17 Oct 7.30pm
Lowestoft Seagull Theatre, 19-75 Morton Rd, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0JH
£8 01502 589726 www.theseagull.co.uk
Fri 18 & Sat 19 Oct 7.30pm
Bury St Edmunds Moyse’s Hall Museum, Cornhill, Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1DX
£9.50, £8.50 concessions 01284 757160 www.moyseshall.org
Tue 22 Oct 7.30pm
Norwich Maids Head Hotel, 20 Tombland, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1LB
£9.50 01603 209955 www.kriyaarts.co.uk
Wed 23 & Thu 24 Oct 7.45pm
Ely Oliver Cromwell’s House, 29 St Mary’s St, Ely CB7 4HF
£9, £8 concessions 01353 662062 www.olivercromwellshouse.co.uk
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