Patti Love to Star in UK Tour of JANE WENHAM: THE WITCH OF WALKERN; Cast Announced!

Ria Parry will direct Patti Love in the title role of Rebecca Lenkiewicz's Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern. The world premiere production, from Out of Joint, Watford Palace Theatre and Arcola Theatre in association with Eastern Angles, will tour the UK from September 2015 to January 2016.

Patti will be joined in the cast by David Acton (Hutchinson), Judith Coke (Priddy), Tim Delap (Crane), Hannah Hutch (Ann), Andrew Macklin (Fergal/Pricker), Rachel Sanders (Widow) and Cat Simmons (Kemi).

The production will open to press at Watford Palace Theatre before two weeks of rural touring in association with Eastern Angles. It will then travel to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Salisbury before playing at London's Arcola Theatre.

Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern is inspired one of the last major witch trials in England. The charges brought against Jane Wenham, the cunning woman of a small Hertfordshire village in 1712, provoked a nationwide pamphlet war.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz dramatises Wenham's extraordinary story for our times. Alive with the mysteries of sex, nature and the supernatural, this gripping new play blasts society's hunger to find - and create - witches.

Director Ria Parry said 'Part of what draws me to Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern is that it resonates with issues we are still facing today. In many areas of the world, women are still horribly oppressed, and even closer to home there is a tendency to 'witch-hunt' not just women, but anyone we fear or don't understand - to persecute or demonize a particular group in order to protect yourself or your own. It's an us and them mentality - a war on the weak, an inability to cope with or accept 'difference.' There is an intimate look at the power and hypocrisy of religion in the play, which brilliantly interweaves with the community's treatment of women. Jane Wenham is set in 1712, but it is disturbingly relevant to now. We have a stunning cast and an excellent creative team. It's a real pleasure to be working with Rebecca on the premiere of her superb play.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz won a BAFTA for co-writing Ida with Pawel Pawlikowski, which also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. She won a Fringe First for her play Soho: A Tale of Table Dancers, and her plays The Night Season and Her Naked Skin both premiered at the National Theatre. Rebecca is the first living female playwright to have her worked produced on the Olivier Stage at the NT. Her play The Invisible is currently playing at the Bush Theatre.

Ria Parry is Co-Artistic Director of Iron Shoes, for whom her productions include Mad About The Boy (Edinburgh Fringe & National Tour - Fringe First Winner 2009), Caryl Churchill's Fen at the Finborough Theatre, and Crush (Fringe First winner 2011). Other work includes Albion (Bush Theatre), On Golden Pond (Salisbury Playhouse) and The Winter's Tale Re-imagined (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.) Ria was awarded the Leverhulme Bursary for Emerging Directors in 2010/11, becoming Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio.

Patti Love has extensive stage and screen credits which include for film Women in Gold, Mrs Henderson Presents, An Awfully Big Adventure and A Long Good Friday. Stage credits include Something Never Happened (Assembly Rooms), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (Old Vic/Vaudeville), The Glass Menagerie (Exeter Northcott) and Henry IV parts I and II (RSC).

IF YOU GO:

Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern?

Wednesday 23 September - Saturday 3 October 2015
Watford Palace Theatre
Press night: Mon 28 September 2015, 7pm

Tuesday 6 to Saturday 17 October 2015 - rural touring, see below

Tue 6: The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk
Wed 7: Community Centre, Bradfield, Essex
Thu 8: Lakeside Theatre, Uni of Essex, Wivenhoe
Fri 9: Garboldisham Village Hall, Norfolk
Sat 10: Brandestone Village hall, Suffolk
Tue 13: Ipswich High School for Girls
Wed 14: Public Hall, Witham, Essex
Thu 15: Felsted School, Dunmow, Essex
Fri 16: The Curve, Sudbury Ormiston Academy, Suffolk
Sat 17: Woodbridge Community Hall, Suffolk

Wednesday 21 - Saturday 24 October 2015
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Tuesday 27 - Saturday 31 October 2015
Liverpool Everyman Theatre

Tuesday 3 - Saturday 7 November 2015
Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

Tuesday 10 - Saturday 14 November 2015
Salisbury Playhouse

Tuesday 5 - Saturday 30 January 2016
Arcola Theatre, London
Press night: Thu 7 January 2016, 7.30pm

A full tour list and links to all on-sale venues will be available at www.outofjoint.co.uk.

Inquisitive, epic, authentic: Out of Joint this year celebrates 21 years of developing and touring socially and politically engaged theatre of the highest quality. Under the direction of its founder Max Stafford-Clark, Out of Joint has premiered plays from leading writers including April De Angelis, Sebastian Barry, Richard Bean, Alistair Beaton, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Robin Soans and Timberlake Wertenbaker, as well as launching the careers of writers such as Mark Ravenhill and Stella Feehily. Out of Joint co-produces with the country's most exciting theatres and its work has been seen in six continents.

Arcola Theatre is one of London's leading off-West End theatres. Locally engaged and internationally minded, Arcola stages a diverse programme of plays, operas and musicals. World-class productions from major artists appear alongside cutting-edge work from the most exciting emerging companies. Arcola delivers one of London's most extensive community engagement programmes, creating over 5000 opportunities every year. By providing research and development space to diverse artists, Arcola champions theatre that's more engaging and representative. Its pioneering environmental initiatives are internationally renowned, and aim to make Arcola the world's first carbon-neutral theatre.

Watford Palace Theatre is a 21st century producing theatre, making new work across the art forms of theatre, dance, outdoor arts and digital, and developing audiences, artists and communities through exciting opportunities to participate.

Watford Palace Theatre commissions and produces plays from a range of new and established writers. Recent premieres include, Jefferson's Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Love Me Do by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran; An Intervention by Mike Bartlett (in co-production with Paines Plough); Shiver by Daniel Kanaber; the Ideal World season of three new plays - Perfect Match by Gary Owen, Virgin by E.V.Crowe (in co-production with nabakov), Override by Stacey Gregg; Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells (in co-production with Paines Plough and Hull Truck Theatre); Our Brother David by Anthony Clark; Our Father by Charlotte Keatley; and Family Business by Julian Mitchell.

Creative Associates are central to Watford Palace Theatre's vision - these include Resident Companies Rifco Arts and Tiata Fahodzi; nabokov; Mahogany Opera Group: Scamp Theatre; Kate Flatt; Shona Morris; Charlotte Keatley; Gary Owen; Stacey Gregg and Alice Birch.

Eastern Angles is the regional touring theatre company for East Anglia. It has a national reputation for producing high-quality, new writing usually with a regional flavour. Based at the Sir John Mills Theatre in Ipswich, the company has been touring professional theatre productions into the towns and villages of East Anglia since 1982. Eastern Angles have also staged productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at London's Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre and The Pleasance.


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