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The Welkin 2023

The Welkin 2023 written by Lucy Kirkwood at The Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon, Coventry from 21 - 28 October 2023. Directed by Nicol Cortese.


Rural Suffolk, 1759. As the country waits for Halley's Comet, Sally Poppy is sentenced to hang for a heinous murder. When she claims to be pregnant, a jury of twelve matrons are taken from their housework to decide whether she's telling the truth, or simply trying to escape the noose.

With only midwife Lizzy Luke prepared to defend the girl, and a mob baying for blood outside, the matrons wrestle with their new authority, and the devil in their midst.

Lucy Kirkwood's play The Welkin premiered at the National Theatre, London, in January 2020, directed by James Macdonald and featuring Maxine Peake and Ria Zmitrowicz brought these reviews:

"Brilliant, brave, bold and intelligent... It is, for all the seriousness of its subject, often very funny, yet at the close, profoundly moving." Sarah Crompton, Whatsonstage

"Lucy Kirkwood’s huge new drama pulls 18th century lives thrillingly into present-day focus." David Benedict, Variety.

Note: This play has a central diversity story at its heart, concerned with the control of the patriarchy through paralleling the experiences of women in past and present society. The playwright asks for diversity in ethnicity, identity and background in the instruction that the casting “reflects the present day population of the place the play is being performed in, not East Anglia in the 1750s".


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