Castle hosts witches tale

Witching hour: Tour guide and Playwright Graham Kemp with producer Stephen Tomlin in the Pendle Witch cell

Witching hour: Tour guide and Playwright Graham Kemp with producer Stephen Tomlin in the Pendle Witch cell

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Lancaster Castle’s Shire Hall is the setting for a rehearsed reading of Graham Kemp’s play The Trial of the Pendle Witches next Thursday and Friday.

This remarkable play, which explores the human relationships behind the tragedy of the famous Lancashire Witches, was written to mark the 400th anniversary of their trial and execution last year.

It was given its premiere last September, in the 
atmospheric surroundings of the very building where the women were imprisoned and tried four centuries ago in the biggest-ever group execution for witchcraft.

Last year also saw the Dukes Theatre re-stage the play Sabbat, and tour it nationally, again to mark the historic anniversary of these notorious prosecutions.

The Wonderous Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, published in 1613 by the Clerk of the Court Thomas Potts, inspired this latest script from Graham Kemp, who works as a tour guide at the castle.

He who worked closely with producer Stephen Tomlin, of theatre company Demi-paradise Productions which often stages dramas at the castle, to develop a two-hour drama that evoked a heartfelt response from last year’s audience.

So this is a second chance to experience this compelling story presented by nine members of the castle’s resident professional theatre company, Demi Paradise, with live singing from the company.

The Trial of the Pendle Witches delves beneath the official account to reveal a far more complex human tragedy.

Audiences can join company and writer for an informal Q&A session after each performance. Tickets from the box office on 01524 64998 or online at www.demiparadiseproductions.co.uk.