January 2020

The Ballad of Maria Marten

Beth Flintoff’s captivating drama The Ballad of Maria Marten, which toured previously in 2018 under the title ‘Polstead’ and following great audience and critical success, embarks on a spring tour in 2020.

Hal Chambers, with Ivan Cutting, directs an all-female cast with Elizabeth Crarer returning as the eponymous role and Susanna Jennings as Lucy. The production starts its tour in Scarborough before its run at the New Wolsey Theatre and then goes on to Newcastle-under-Lyme.

It retells 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. 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“.

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”.

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

20 – 22 February

Box Office: 01473 295900