Local People Bring Story of Medieval Witchcraft To Life In Castle Ruins
Over sixty volunteers from across Birmingham are bringing a dramatic story of witchcraft, evil barons, plague and pestilence to life amid the ruins of a medieval castle this week.
The Witches’ Promise, written by local playwright Stephanie Dale, is inspired by real historical events that took place in and around the ancient landmark of Weoley Castle, where the play is being performed.
Produced by The REP, The Witches’ Promise is part of the theatre’s Neighbourhood REP series, which has seen The REP join forces with Birmingham City Council’s Library and Archive Services to bring theatre to the city’s libraries. This large scale community production follows research with users of Weoley Castle library and has offered local residents the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of putting on a show, from performing to making theatrical props.
The atmospheric surroundings of Weoley Castle will see a story about their former owner, wealthy baron John De Somery, brought to life.
Although inspired by historical events such as the Great Famine (1315-1327), the De Somery’s who lived at Weoley Castle and the fear of witches throughout the Middle Ages, writer Stephanie Dale describes The Witches Promise as “very much a fairytale”:
“As a writer I am very intrigued to write about the past as a way of exploring our present. I didn’t, however, want to create a piece of living history and so the play is very much a giant fairytale, set in 1321 and the thrill of creating such a beast is that anything can happen.
“Being given the opportunity to write on such a large scale for such a magnificent site as Weoley Castle Ruins has been a joy and privilege and it has been thrilling watching the director, Peter Cann, throw himself into working with such a talented and fun community to bring it all to life with: song; music; dance; puppets and much more.”