Our players will be staging performances throughout the museum as part of the fantastic Live Friday event, as we use authentic accounts from witch trials of the 17th Century to explore how and why people would be accused of witchcraft and find the odds stacked against them.
Beginning with a death foretold at 8.30pm in the museum’s main atrium, and climaxing with the trial of Widow Hardwick in the museum atrium, A Trial of Witches promises to be a fascinating and enthralling evening.
This Live Friday, explore the Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft exhibition and encounter magicians, illusionists, astrolabe demonstrations in the galleries, listen to talks on magic and medicine, star-gaze with astronomers, and experiment with face distortion. Or have a go at potion making, defend against the Dark Arts, or try the Magic Mirror of Floren.
A Trial of Witches: programme of events
It is 1644 in a typical small rural village in the midlands of England. The English Civil War is taking place far away from this isolated community, yet all is not well – the villagers have suffered two years of misfortune with poor harvests, animals dying & sickness in seemingly-healthy people.
The superstitious people look for scapegoats & a sudden death sees accusations made as events begin move towards their fateful conclusion…
8.30pm: A Death Foretold
When Farmer Kellet’s son dies unexpectedly, the community gathers to perform its traditional funeral rites. But soon fingers are pointed at the unpopular outsider Widow Hardwick – is she a witch responsible for Young Kellet’s death? And what dark dread will a visitor to the village bring?
8.45pm-10pm: Beware the Searchers!
Throughout the museum
Try and avoid the Seekers searching the museum examining patrons for incriminating ‘witch marks’! Meanwhile, clad in the Scold’s Bridle the accused Widow Hardwick will be walked to exhaustion around the galleries.
9pm: Sermon by a Puritan Preacher
Grand Staircase (east of museum main entrance)
Hear Puritan preacher Reverend Caleb Fossey rail against belief in witchcraft & the superstitious ways of his flock with an authentic 17th Century sermon.
10pm: A Trial of Witches
Be part of the jury in the climax to Live Friday as Magistrate Quitnot interrogates witnesses and the accused to discover whether the village is plagued by demonic forces. The hangman’s noose awaits!