Halloween play at The Avenue Theatre Ipswich will tell the Suffolk story of Matthew Hopkins Witchfinder General
A new play about the reign of terror of the Witchfinder General is set to haunt audiences at a Suffolk theatre this Halloween.
Set in Mistley, in Essex, close to the Suffolk border, The Ungodly will explore the events which led to the witch hunts led by Mathew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, in 1645.
Joanna Carrick, Creative Director of Red Rose Chain, based in Ipswich, wrote the play, after researching the Witchfinder in minute detail.
She learnt how Hopkins, was just 17 when he started to spread terror across Suffolk and East Anglia as he travelled from town to village, leading investigations and interrogating people.
It is believed 300 women, alleged to be witches, were killed by the Witchfinder General and his followers, something Joanna said is ‘mindblowing’.
Though the story, depicted in Joanna’s play is a local one, she says it is one of global significance.
She said: “I am so excited to bring this play and the people that inhabit it to life.
“I wrote it in lockdown, exploring one of the darkest chapters in our history, which set precedents for the Salem witch trials which feature in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.”
“The story is heartbreaking and terrifying and also frighteningly modern.”
The play is inspired by new evidence suggesting that Hopkins’, who died at the age of 27, own family tragedies ‘were a catalyst for a his reign of terror’.
Audiences can watch The Ungodly at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich from October 24 – November 11.
Ticket prices start from £12 and are available from the Red Rose Chain’s box office on 01473 603388 or from their website.
The Ungodly is the culmination of a wider project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund which brought together Red Rose Chain’s community companies and professional artists to explore local heritage.