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Haverhill theatre company prepares to return to performing for the first time since 2019



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Outdoor actors prevented from performing for the last two summers by the pandemic return to action in St Mary’s Church in Haverhill on October 22 and 23.

Outspoken Theatre Company, a local group who had performed a Shakespeare play each summer for the previous 20 years, touring in and around Haverhill, will be delving further back in time in English drama to the medieval cycles of mystery plays from the 15th century.

Dealing with Bible stories, these little dramas would have been performed in the street by guilds of tradesmen, and each town and city had its own cycle (including, almost certainly, Haverhill). Most are now lost but those from York and Chester have survived.

Steve Murray as the serpent Satan tempting Eve (Billie Allen) to eat the forbidden apple from the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Picture by David Hart
Steve Murray as the serpent Satan tempting Eve (Billie Allen) to eat the forbidden apple from the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Picture by David Hart

Outspoken Theatre director David Hart has put together a series from the York cycle covering the Creation, the Fall of Lucifer, Adam and Eve and The Fall Of Man, plus the story of Noah’s Flood from the Chester cycle to make a drama they are calling In The Beginning....

The performances are being hosted by the Friends of St Mary’s as a fund-raiser for the church. Audiences will be socially distanced for safety.

Outspoken Theatre are dedicating the performances to the memory of Andy Letcher, who took part in nearly all their Shakespeare productions and who died recently.

Mr Hart said: “Andy was a stalwart of the team throughout all those years and we will miss him greatly.

"We are pleased and grateful that his daughter Emma is continuing with her role in the production despite this bereavement.

“These little plays were a big influence on Shakespeare and his contemporaries. They are very broad-brush and full of knockabout comedy, but they also have good dramatic scenes, like Satan’s temptation of Eve.”

Mr Hart added Outspoken’s regulars were delighted to be back – among them Alan Davison as God, Steve Murray as Satan and as Noah, Catherine Keeble as the bossy and intractable Mrs Noah, Tom Cross as Adam and Billie Allen as Eve.

Tickets are available from Haverhill Arts Centre box office. Performances begin at 7.30pm on both the Friday and Saturday.

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