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Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern

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05/01/2016–30/01/2016

Walkern, 1712.

After decades free from witch hunts, Walkern’s cunning woman Jane Wenham is blamed for a tragic death – and charged with witchcraft. A terrifying ordeal begins, as the village is torn between those who want to save her life, and those who claim to want to save her soul.

Inspired by events in a Hertfordshire village, Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s beautiful, throat-catching new play is alive with the mysteries of nature, sex and the supernatural, and blasts society’s hunger to find – and create – witches.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz won a BAFTA this year for co-writing Ida, which also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. For the Arcola she wrote The Painter, adaptations of Ghosts and An Enemy of the People, and Soho: A Tale of Table Dancers, which won a Fringe First and opened the Arcola in 2001. Her plays The Night Season and Her Naked Skin both premiered at the National Theatre.


Talkback: Making Jane Wenham

Monday 11 January, 9.45pm (post-show), free.
With director Ria Parry and members of the company.


Then & Now: Witches, Women and Outsiders

Saturday 23 January, 5.45pm (between matinee and evening performances), free.
Why did the witch craze happen? Why were so many women victimised? Are the same factors at play in today’s world? Join our panel discussion with special guests including broadcaster and historian Suzannah Lipscomb, who recently wrote and presented Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder for Channel 5; artist and curator Deanna Petherbridge, who curated Witches and Vile Bodies for the British Museum; and Sian McGee of the Women’s Equality Party. Chaired by Maeve McKeown.

Listen again on our special Arcola Podcast

Ria Parry is Co-Artistic Director of Iron Shoes, for whom her productions include Mad About The Boy (Edinburgh Festival and National Tour – Fringe First winner 2011), Caryl Churchill’s Fen at the Finborough Theatre, and Crush (Fringe First winner 2009). Other work includes Albion (Bush Theatre), On Golden Pond (Salisbury Playhouse) and The Winter’s Tale Re-imagined (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Ria was awarded the Leverhulme Bursary for Emerging Directors in 2010/11, becoming Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio.

For more information about Out of Joint, visit their website and follow @Out_of_Joint.

World premiere

A heady brew of sex and sorcery… A wonderfully spare and atmospheric production
—The Guardian
A propulsive, persuasively acted production by Ria Parry, which conjures a thickening atmosphere of suspicion, desire and dark wonderment
—The Times
Shrewd and compelling
—The Independent
Rebecca Lenkiewicz’ powerful new play… Amanda Bellamy is infinitely watchable as the herb-gathering sage Jane Wenham
—Time Out
Fascinating and finely wrought… Amanda Bellamy is heartbreaking
—WhatsOnStage
A fascinating piece of history skilfully brought to life
—Financial Times
A riveting tale .... Amanda Bellamy is extraordinary
—Reviews Hub
A powerful and timely piece of drama
—British Theatre Guide
There is not a weak link in the cast. Powerful performances
—The Stage
A rich dark mix ... fast, powerful and important
—Libby Purves

Cast

David Acton
Amanda Bellamy
Judith Coke
Tim Delap
Hannah Hutch
Andrew Macklin
Rachel Sanders
Cat Simmons

Text

Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Direction

Ria Parry

Designer

James Button

Lighting Designer

Richard Howell

Composer and Sound Designer

Max Pappenheim

Puppetry

Matt Hutchinson

Photography

Richard Davenport


A production by Arcola Theatre, Out of Joint and Watford Palace Theatre, in association with Eastern Angles.

Tickets

Standard £19
Concession £15
Standard (matinee) £17
Concession (matinee) £14
Opening performances (5-9 January) £12

Tickets are £10 or less with Arcola Passport.

Nightly at 7.30pm. Saturday matinees at 3pm. No performances Sunday.

Running time: 135 minutes approximately (including interval).

This production contains:
Nudity
Violence
Haze
Loud noises
Suitable for 14+