Casting Announcement: The Ballad of Maria Marten

11 December 2019

Suzanne Ahmet

Elizabeth Crarer

Emma Denly

Jessica Dives

Sarah Goddard

Susanna Jennings

Suzanne Ahmet, Emma Denly, Jessica Dives and Sarah Goddard play Sarah/Lady Cooke, Theresa/Peter, Phoebe and Ann respectively in Eastern Angles re-staging of Beth Flintoff’s captivating drama THE BALLAD OF MARIA MARTEN. They join previously announced Elizabeth Crarer as Maria and Susanna Jennings as Lucy. The production opens on Tuesday 11 February at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough before touring to the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (20 – 22 Feb) and the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme (26 – 29 Feb).  

Suzanne Ahmet’s credits include has Peter Panand Saint George and The Dragon at The National Theatre with screen credits including Adult Material, Gittins (Channel 4) and Doctors, Jonathan Creek and EastEnders (BBC).

Emma Denly’s was recently seen in Out of Sorts at Theatre503 and The Rebellious Women of Wimbledon, for which she was nominated for an Offie award. Emma recently recorded an episode of Plum House for BBC Radio 4.

Jessica Dives’ theatre creditsincludeTwelfth Night with Storyhouse and Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Merry Christmas Carol at the Liverpool Royal Court and Red Riding Hood, Liverpool Everyman Theatre.Jessica is also an accomplished Singer and Multi-Instrumentalist, regularly performing across the UK.

Sarah Goddard could be recently seen in the West End and National tour of Hetty Feather as well as 2066 at The Almeida, The Merry Wives of Windsor (OSC), Cinderella (ENB), Jack (York Theatre Royal) and Cinderella (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Elizabeth Crarer’s recent theatre credits include Macbeth (Rabble Theatre Company) and When The Rain Stops Falling (Red Dog Productions) with appearances in Midsomer Murders and Law & Order: UK.

Susanna Jennings’ recent theatre credits include Dead Quiet (ImmerCity); Mr Popper’s Penguins (Pins&Needles/CTC Minneapolis) and Bea Roberts’ Little Mermaid (Pins&Needles/The Egg).

A thrilling retelling of Suffolk’s real-life murder mystery… Summer, 1827. In a red barn Maria Marten awaits her lover. A year later her body is found under the floor of the barn in a grain sack, barely identifiable, and the manhunt begins.

Maria’s story sent shock waves throughout the country. The Red Barn Murder (as it became known) was national news, inspiring writers and filmmakers down the ages. The sort of gruesome tale that had all the hallmarks of a classic crime drama – a missing body, a country location, a disreputable squire and a village stuck in its age-old traditions.

But in all this hysteria Maria’s own story gets lost. Until now. Hal Chambers and Beth Flintoff’s spine-tingling retelling rediscovers her story, bringing it back to vivid, urgent life.

Beth Flintoff is a freelance playwright and theatre director living in Hampshire. She is an Associate Artist at Reading Between Lines Theatre Company in Reading, for whom she has written Oscar Wilde on Trial, Henry I of England, Matilda the Empress and Henry II. Other writing includes The World We Made (currently touring), The Rebellious Women of Wimbledon for Attic Theatre Company (2018), and One Hundred Years of War and Peace on Greenham Common (2017). Beth is currently working on Come to Where I’m From (Paines Plough), Genomes and The Last Abbot of Reading for Reading Between the Lines, and a new commission for Write the Girl freelance workshop leader, and her successful adaptation of The Rivals was directed by Jonny Humphreys in March 2018. 

Writer Beth Flintoff commented “As soon as Ivan approached me to write the story of Maria Marten I was intrigued. I hadn’t heard about her murder but was fascinated to hear about not just the story itself, but how it has been told to us. From the moment of the trial, the focus was on the murderer, not Maria. No one seemed to be looking carefully at the intricacies of her life, beyond the basics. So, I wanted to tell the story entirely from her point of view. We are often presented with stories of women as a ‘victim’ rather than as interesting, complicated people who had hopes and dreams, friends and lives of their own.”

Hal Chambers is an award-winning theatre director based in London and is the Artistic Director of Tucked In Theatre Company. His directorial credits for Eastern Angles include The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (2017) and Ragnarok (2014). He has previously worked with the Bush Theatre, York Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Polka Theatre and Royal Court. Hal also regularly directs for the Oxford School of Drama, ALRA, Birmingham School of Acting, LAMDA, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Producer Matthew Linley commented “‘Ever since I first saw Polstead in a tent on Debach airfield I knew that this was a show that needed to see a wider audience.  It’s a thrilling true life tale which is as joyful as it is murderous! So, I’m delighted to be working with Eastern Angles and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough to bring Polstead back to life as The Ballad of Maria Marten”

THE BALLAD OF MARIA MARTEN is directed by Hal Chambers with Ivan Cutting and produced by Eastern Angles and Matthew Linley Creative Projects in association with the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Booking Information