In the 17th Century the infamous self-proclaimed Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins waged a personal vendetta against women in East Anglia. Seeing Witchcraft everywhere he was determined to use whatever means necessary to convict and execute any woman he suspected. In just three years he was responsible for killing 60% of those executed for witchcraft in the UK.
In Sisterhood, the new multimedia play by Jolie Booth, three women, aged 20, 40 and 60 (without a virgin, mother or hag in sight) are in a church cell, on the night before their trial for Witchcraft.
Sisterhood is a gentle but fearless adventure into the dark heart of patriarchal rule. It is split between two timelines, taking in the history of the infamous 16th century witch trials alongside modern-day concerns as women face a world in political and environmental upheaval. Using soothing and passionate storytelling, the stories of the 16th century characters interweave with episodes from the performer’s own lives, revealing an immediate and clear association. The play has been likened to The Handmaids Tale – ‘but with more hope’.
With its opening date on a full moon and moving towards Halloween, the play undertakes a ‘Healing tour’ of East Anglia, visiting 10 of the principal locations associated with the Hopkins’ reign of terror.
Booth is a local, having grown up in Braintree, Essex, and has spent the last 30 years working as a Tudor at Kentwell Hall Re-Creation in Long Melford, Suffolk.
Jolie Booth said ‘Sisterhood is a call to dis-arm the patriarchy through community, through the world-wide women’s web, to treat our-selves and each other with the respect, grace and honour that Mumma Earth – the divine feminine – requires.
In the 15th and 16th Centuries women were set against one another in the notorious witch trials, and there are obvious parallels today. In creating the show I worked with an awesome team of women who have collaborated to play their parts in strengthening the bounds of sisterhood. Together we can all rise up and stand as one against a system that is corrupt, destructive, divisive and has been pushing people and the planet around for far too long…’
Sisterhood was written by Booth and is performed by Jules Craig (Marjorie), Jolie Booth (Alice) & Coco Maertens (Kitty). The play is also being published as a novel by King’s England Press.
Fri 11 Oct – Coggeshall, Grange Barn www.nationaltrust.org.uk/grange-barn
Sat 12 Oct – Stowmarket, Museum of East Anglian Life www.eastanglianlife.org.uk
Sun 13 Oct – Manningtree, Red Lion Inn www.redlionmannigtree.co.uk
Mon 14 & Tues 15 Oct – Chelmsford, The Transition www.kriyaarts.co.uk
Wed 16 Oct – Colchester, Colchester Castle www.kriyaarts.co.uk
Thu 17 Oct – Lowestoft, Seagull Theatre www.theseagull.co.uk
Fri 18 & Sat 19 Oct – Bury St Edmunds, Moyse’s Hall Museum www.moyseshall.org
Tue 22 Oct – Norwich, Maids Head Hotel www.kriyaarts.co.uk
Wed 23 & Thu 24 Oct – Ely, Oliver Cromwell’s House www.olivercromwellshouse.co.uk
For more information visit www.kriyaarts.co.uk/sisterhood.