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Witchcraft and a shaved leg of mutton...

Debs Newbold and Faz Singhateh in Mutton. Pic: Tom Woollard
Debs Newbold and Faz Singhateh in Mutton. Pic: Tom Woollard

It’s Leeds in1809 and Mary Bateman is about to be hung for witchcraft and murder. Her career of crime has included fake identities, a poisoned pudding, a holy hen, drunk watchmen and a freshly-shaved leg of mutton.

Yorkshire-based Brave Words explores the life and times of this Yorkshire witch in Mutton, a dark comedy from playwright Chris Singleton, who said: "When I found out about Mary I was immediately fascinated. This outrageous woman, selling her husband’s furniture, pretending her hen was prophesying the end of the world… all in the city where I grew up! I couldn’t help but read more, and Mutton began.”

The show is being performed across some of the most disadvantaged Leeds communities, where Brave Words has a company-wide policy of offering accessible, local professional theatre. Supported by Harrogate Theatre, it explores working class stories across Leeds and North Yorkshire.

Chris added: “In 1809, Leeds was growing fast, new industry was changing the world and people were struggling in poverty. Mary’s cons thrived because her victims were desperate for any hope that life might get easier. There are so many parallels today.”

Director Rachael Halliwell said: “Mutton is a rare chance to lead a stellar female-led cast and creative team. Chris has written a cracking, anarchic show – and what a perfect time to explore Mary Bateman and her legendary hustle.”

The show can be seen at Chapel FM, Seacroft, Leeds (November 17); Stainbeck Church, Meanwood, Leeds, (November 22); St Andrew’s Church, Beeston, Leeds (November 23) and West Park United Reform Church, Harrogate (November 24).

More info and tickets here

Video: Fly Girl Films


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