We’re taking Hidden Stories on tour!

14th February 2023

We are delighted to have been awarded funding from Arts Council England to take two of our Hidden Stories on a national tour this spring!

Hidden Stories looks at stories not told or stories where we have a particular accepted version, but there is often more to say.

We first brought Hidden Stories to our Taking the Stage Festival in March 2022 and introduced audiences to five incredible true stories written by local playwrights. Still in their writing infancy, we showcased ‘Daughter of the Waves’ by Lisa Lovell, ‘Saltiness of Time’ by Shirley Jones, ‘Echo’ by Subika Anwar Khan, ‘Now You See Me’ by Carly Halse and ‘Darlint Peidi’ by our Artistic Director, Rosemary Hill.

The “hidden story” of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in England. The year was 1955. Ruth Ellis openly admitted to the murder of her lover David Blakely who she shot at the Magdala pub in London. What is little know though is that Blakely was violent and controlling. A few days before the murder he had brutally beaten Ruth and she suffered a miscarriage. At a time when she needed support her close make friend Desmond Cussen gave her a gun and showed her how to use it. He was never called to account. Her case led to changes in the law recognising the defence of diminished responsibility.

Edith Thompson was executed in 1923 alongside her young lover Frederick Bywaters. Edith Thompson apparently knew nothing about the plan to murder her husband, Percy. Bywaters always maintained he acted alone. But Thompson was older than him and seen as an immoral seducer. She was also a dreamer who wrote letters to her lover describing their perfect life together after her husband was gone. Was she executed for adultery rather than murder, a victim of the social climate of the time? If she had lived through the swinging sixties would society have judged her differently?

Two very thought provoking and powerful plays by female playwrights, which are not to be missed.

Since Taking the Stage, Carly and Rosemary have revisited, reworked and rewritten these true crime cases to create two even more powerful and intriguing plays that highlight these women’s stories and the failure of the British criminal justice system.

With 2023 marking the centenary of Edith Thompson’s death, taking our plays on tour this year makes the stories even more poignant.

Rosemary Hill says: “We are incredibly excited to take our ‘Hidden Stories’ to local stages on our first ever tour".

“The true stories of Ruth Ellis and Edith Thompson are fascinating yet heart-breaking. We want to share them with local audiences to get them thinking about the narrative the media feeds us and ingrained misogyny in the justice system. Both cases are now seen as major miscarriages of justice, but are women still judged more harshly than men?"

“Taking Darlint Peidi on tour during the 100th year anniversary of Edith Thompson’s execution, I hope will challenge and raise awareness of not only her miscarriage of justice, but others too".

“We are incredibly grateful to the Arts Council England for supporting our project and enabling us to bring it to life.”


Further dates to be announced. 

Running time 80 mins
This performance is for audiences aged 14+
Content Warnings: The performance contains some sexual language and mild swear words