The dramatic witch trials of the 17th century will be brought to life by a lottery-funded community project in Bury St Edmunds.
Bring Out Your Dead Productions has won a £48,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the year-long Witches of West Suffolk project about the trials, which took place across East Anglia from 1644-1647.
On Wednesday, Greg Hanson and Hatty Ashton, of Bring Out Your Dead Productions, launched the project at Moyse’s Hall Museum, which itself has an extensive display about the trials in this area.
Greg said: “It’s about bringing history to life and making it exciting and engaging. The story itself is fascinating.”
The pair are working with pupils at County Upper School and St Benedict’s School, in Bury, to explore the history of the trials, while they are also in the process of setting up two community groups for the research phase of the project.
An exhibition at the museum in the autumn will display materials gathered by the schools and groups. Behind the scenes, Greg and Hatty will write a play about the trials inspired by the research, to be performed at the museum and schools by professional and community actors .
Throughout, West Suffolk College media students will film the project, before producing a documentary to be used as a learning resource for schools.
Greg and Hatty – who are joined on the production team by Lucy Farrant – formed the company in 2013 after graduating from the Theatre Royal’s Young Associates programme.
“We’ve always been so well supported by the town and the people we work with,” said Hatty.