Amersham Martyrs Community Play will time-travel back to Amersham in Henry VIII’s reign. First rehearsal is at 8pm on Wednesday 29 September in St Mary’s Church, Old Amersham. Anyone who is interested in getting involved (in speaking or non-speaking parts or backstage) is invited. No experience is required, all are welcome, visit www.amershammartyrs.info.
Next year will be the 500th anniversary of the death of the first Amersham Martyr and Amersham Museum will be putting on a community play about this in March 2011. The play will tell the story of 16th century Amersham. The seven Martyrs were burned at the stake during the reign of Henry VIII in 1511 and 1521 for their religious beliefs. They were part of a group called Lollards, who believed that they should be allowed to read and own the Bible in English rather than in Latin. They denounced the wealth of the church and wanted the freedom to worship in their own way. Religious courts were held to try them as heretics and to punish them.
The play was first produced by the Amersham Museum in 2001 and again in 2004 directed by Stan Pretty, a professional actor and director. It will again be a promenade performance with a large cast of adults and children in St Mary’s Church in Old Amersham. The performers will tell the story of the Martyrs and show what life in Tudor times was like in Amersham. A choir will again be formed to re-create the musical sounds of the 16th century. Last time there were more than 100 adults and about 50 children in the play; the youngest was four and the oldest aged 84.
Here are some of the comments on the 2004 production: This production deserves a wider audience. Costumes worthy of a national museum with speech and props to match. The Charter Fair scene was simply magnificent. Not only is this a lot of fun, it also helps to bring history alive and it is wonderful to have so many children involved in such an exciting community event. Walking through the creaky oak doors of the church and you literally felt you had stepped back in time 500 years.
If you are interested email AmershamMartyrs@gmail.com or telephone 01494 725186 to let them know how you want to be involved, to ask for more information or to be added to the email circulation list.