By Beth Flintoff

Commissioned by Eastern Angles

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


On tour  11th July - 5th August 2018

“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.

The dark local tale is dramatically staged by Hal Chambers with an all-female cast and tours to a mix of locations from Ipswich Waterfront to Semer Barn near Polstead itself. 

For more information about the tour, 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

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

Produced by Eastern Angles Theatre Company

Developed with support from Arts Council England

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


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


'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. '


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


'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.'


'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.'