THE BALLAD OF MARIA MARTEN

By Beth Flintoff

Commissioned by Eastern Angles
On Tour February - March 2020

'Beth Flintoff’s powerful historical drama tackles issues of domestic abuse with passion and sensitivity'  

★★★★  THE STAGE

“It’s been a year since I died, and still nobody has found me”

In the Red Barn, a dark secret lies buried, waiting to be discovered.

In 1820s Suffolk, Polstead is a quiet village stuck in its age-old traditions and ancient class system. Rich and poor, man and woman, everyone knows their place. Life revolves around the seasons and the timeless cycle of marriages, births and deaths, where the annual Cherry Fair is the only excitement, and the threat of starvation never far away. The villagers plod stoically on, through bitter winters and sweet brief summers. 

But Maria and her friends want to be different: they yearn for thrills and experimentation. When luck, and her fierce determination to better herself, throws Maria into the arms of a wealthy landowner, it seems that her dreams will come true…

With this new take on a classic story, the play re-examines the life of Maria Marten and the events that led up to her murder.  As part of my research I worked with Lighthouse, a charity supporting women who have experienced domestic abuse, and a group of survivors. Their own writings, which explore their own experiences and the responses to Maria's murder, are on display at each venue and given to audience members.

TOUR DATES 2020:

STEPHEN JOSEPH THEATRE, Scarborough, 11th - 15th February
NEW WOLSEY THEATRE, Ipswich, 20th - 22nd February
NEW VIC THEATRE, Stoke, 26th - 29th February

For more information about the original 2018 tour (when the play was called POLSTEAD), click here

For more information about Lighthouse Women's Aid, click here

Photographs by Mike Kwasniak

Directed by Hal Chambers

Designed by Verity Quinn

Lighting by Zoe Spurr

Music by Luke Potter

Original 2018 Cast: Elizabeth Crarer, Lydia Bakelmun, Sarah Goddard, Lucy Grattan, Roxanne Palmer, Bethan Nash

Originally produced by Eastern Angles Theatre Company
2020 tour produced by Eastern Angles and Matthew Linley Projects, in association with the Stephen Joseph Theatre

Developed with support from Arts Council England

'Beth Flintoff’s powerful historical drama tackles issues of domestic abuse with passion and sensitivity' 

★★★★ THE STAGE

'Beth Flintoff's spirited new play .... well worth catching on its tour'

★★★★  LIBBY PURVES, THEATRE CAT

'Beth Flintoff’s dazzling new play, bursting with life and energy .... This has to be not only one of the best theatre experiences of the year but one of the best shows that Eastern Angles has ever staged. '

EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES

'This is a tale of a real place and time far more than just another one of violent death and retribution.'

★★★★  FOUR COUNTIES THEATRE

'Beautifully written .... an amazing piece of theatre that carries you along with twist and turns a plenty...With a clever set design, fabulous lighting and music and brilliant costumes, this is one piece of theatre that will really move you.'

IPSWICH24 MAGAZINE

'Eastern Angles at their best - an old story with contemporary resonance, narrative and music rooted in the region but universally powerful. Beth Flintoff's marvellous piece, brought thrillingly to life by six young women, reclaims Maria Marten's legend from the myth and the melodrama.'

MICHAEL GRAY