The Ballad of Maria Marten to tour UK this autumn

The Ballad of Maria Marten is to tour across the UK in autumn 2021.

Turning history into her-story, the critically acclaimed play will be heading out on a thrilling new tour from September.

The production is a revisionist retelling of a harrowing true crime which sheds light on a complex tale of love, loss, prejudice, and patriarchal power.

It is summer 1827 and in a red barn Maria Marten awaits her lover. One year later, her body is found underneath the flooring in a grain sack, and the manhunt begins. Focussing on Maria’s life rather than her death, this feminist adaptation by Beth Flintoff (co-director, The Incident Room, New Diorama; writer, The Rivals, The Watermill Theatre) brings Maria’s own perspective to the forefront of the infamous ‘Red Barn Murder’.

Bringing together an all-female cast, Elizabeth Crarer (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Macbeth and Matilda The Empress) will return as Maria Marten, alongside Jessica Dives (Pride and Prejudice and Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth and Hamlet) and Susie Barrett (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Gruffalo). Joining them are Sarah Goddard (Hetty Feather, 2066), Bethan Nash (My Fair Lady, Jane Austen’s Emma) and Lydia Bakelmun (Babylon Beyond Borders, 10).

The production is directed by Hal Chambers (Henry V, The Bear) with associate director Beth Flintoff, designer Verity Quinn, music and musical direction Luke Potter, music captain Jessica Dives, lighting design Zoe Spurr, lighting associate Julie Kearney, movement director Rebecca Randall and movement associate Katie Albon.

Performances begin on 16 September at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds before runs at The Lowry, Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, The Stahl, Theatre Royal Winchester, The Haymarket, Marina Theatre and Mercury Theatre Colchester. Further dates into the Spring are to be announced.

For tickets and dates, visit

Writer Beth Flintoff commented: “Eleven women died at the hands of their partners during the first three weeks of lockdown. It’s never been more important for us to consider and celebrate the lives of those that society does not manage to protect. This is an old story, about the infamous murder of a woman, but now the story is told from her point of view. I wanted to focus on who Maria was: who she loved, what she laughed about, and what she does when she’s having fun. I didn’t want her to be a victim anymore, so there is no violence onstage.

Director Hal Chambers added: “At the beginning of The Ballad of Maria Marten writer Beth Flintoff’s stage direction tells us that Maria’s best friends ‘unmurder’ her and that is exactly what we are trying to do with this production. Nearly 200 years on, we hope to let Maria and her friends finally have a voice – and what emerges, especially post lockdown, is a play for our times. Told in vivid movement, searing music and a swirl of passion, The Ballad of Maria Marten stars a dazzling all-female ensemble.”

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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