Victorian melodrama

Drame in Yelvertoft put on their latest show
Drame in Yelvertoft put on their latest show

A village drama group will be bringing a true story to the stage with a new show to be performed later this month.

Talented members of Yelvertoft Drama Group are busy rehearsing for their next production entitled The Murder of Maria Marten or The Red Barn which has all the ingredients of a good play.

The famous Victorian melodrama has been directed by Marc Wakeley, who said: “In all main essentials, this is a true story of love, deceit and retribution.

“The audience are in for a real treat with this one and we are hoping it will be popular.”

Maria Marten was born in Polstead, Suffolk in 1801, the daughter of the village mole catcher. There she met William Corder, the son of the village squire and the two had a child that died in infancy.

In 1827, Corder murdered Maria and buried her body in the Red Barn. Thomas Marten, because of his wife’s recurring dream, searched the barn and discovered the body of his daughter.

Corder was arrested in London, where he had married, was tried and convicted of the crime and in 1828 was executed at Bury St Edmunds Gaol.

The audience will be encouraged to participate in the performance by showing their disapproval of the villain, William Corder’s, dastardly deeds in an audible manner, by commiserating with sweet heroine, Maria Marten, in her hour of trouble and loudly cheering Pharos Lee the avenger of justice.

Marc added: “We decided to put on this show because I think it is going to be great fun with the cast who are taking part in the show and for the audience as well.

“There are also some really good parts of audience participation and there will be a chance to boo the villain and cheer the avenger.

“There are elements of pantomime in there but I would suggest that it is more like a silent movie with words.

“A lot of am dram groups used to do melodrama but it has fallen out of favour. It is something very different for our group to do.”

The cast of 14 are also enjoying the rehearsals and hope this enjoyment will come across to the audience.

Marc added: “The rehearsals have been very very good and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I just hope the audience enjoy it as much as have been.”

He suggests there are many elements for an audience to enjoy.

Marc added: “The Murder of Maria Marten has all the essential ingredients for a great night for audience and cast alike.

“There is a wicked squire who is the villain, a sweet innocent village maiden, poor and very elderly parents and a mysterious, cold-hearted character bent upon revenge at any cost!

“The audience will thoroughly enjoy this Victorian melodrama and will be encouraged to participate in the performance by booing the dastardly deeds of the villain, commiserating with our sweet innocent village maiden and loudly cheering the Bow Street Runner as he tries to ensure that justice is done.”

It takes place on March 21 and 22 at Yelvertoft Village Hall at 7.30pm each night.

Tickets for the show cost £7.50 and can be bought in advance by calling Jackie Chambers on 01788 822518, Chris Ryan on 01788 822839 or by visiting Squisito Deli, High Street, Yelvertoft. For more about the group, visit