Norfolk-based theatre company, Stuff of Dreams, will be visiting venues across the Eastern region this Spring with their latest touring production.
An Honest Gentleman, written by Cordelia Spence and Tim lane, is a lively musical play telling the story of Aylsham-born highwayman Thomas Easter.
The tour will kick-off in Suffolk at Beccles Public Hall on Friday 29th March. Over the following eight weeks the company will take the show to a range of theatres and heritage buildings. A highlight will be two performances at Ipswich’s historic Tudor Christchurch Mansion on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th May. An Honest Gentleman will also visit Peterborough Key Theatre Studio on Tuesday 21st May.
Writer and director Cordelia Spence said; “I have always wanted to write a play about a highwayman, I have always had a fascination with them. I asked local historian David Lewis Smith, who specialises in the eighteenth century, if he knew of a Norfolk highwayman … and he found me Thomas Easter.”
Little is known of Thomas Easter except that he was born in Aylsham in Norfolk in 1715 and was hung at Tyburn 24 years later. From North Norfolk to Putney Heath he plied his trade as a ‘Gentleman of the Road’. Ultimately betrayed by an accomplice, Easter was eventually sentenced to death and ‘danced the hangman’s jig’.
“The best thing about Easter, from a dramatist’s point of view”, says Cordelia Spence, “is that not too much is known about him. All we know is that he was the son of an Aylsham butcher and we know he had to leave the town because he got into a spot of trouble”.
Stuff of Dreams used the original transcript of Thomas Easter’s trial, which was found in the Old Bailey records, as the basis for the play. The writers were also inspired by stories of women highwaymen in particular the folk ballad ‘Sovay’.
The cast of three actors, Quinn Richards, Hayley Evenett and Geir Madland, are accompanied by original folk songs performed by musician Tim Lane. Geir Madland will play the infamous Essex highwayman, Dick Turpin.
“An Honest Gentleman is the third play that Tim Lane and I have written together,” says Cordelia, “and it has been an absolute joy. And with the support of Arts Council funding, we are delighted to be able to tour the show to venues across the East of England.”
For more information about An Honest Gentleman and full tour dates visit: www.stuffofdreamstheatre.com