Human Cargo show to be performed at Lavenham Guildhall

Lavenham Guildhall Picture: DON BLACK

Lavenham Guildhall Picture: DON BLACK - Credit: Archant

Tales of forced emigration, slavery and transportation are set to be brought to life in a unique performance in west Suffolk this month.

Storyteller Matthew Crampton will use true stories and folk music to give voice to those people who were transported as slaves or convicts in Human Cargo – which will be performed at Lavenham Guildhall.

The show has toured throughout the UK, with Matthew performing in traditional theatre venues as well as unique locations such as the dry dock beneath the Cutty Sark in London.

The show at Lavenham Guildhall promises to be a one-off experience, as Matthew weaves in the story of Ann Baker – a former child prisoner at the Guildhall who was ultimately transported to Australia.

Ann’s story is told at the historic guildhall and illustrated in the room that once served as one part of the bridewell, or prison, in the late 18th-century and her tragic life is not uncommon for those convicted of crimes at the time.


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Sent to prison at just eight-years-old, Ann managed to escape and run away, before being found and brought back again.

Before she’d reached her teenage years, in 1785 Ann had run away again, and after being found was declared an ‘incorrigible rogue’, and sentenced to be transported to Australia.

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Josh Ward, visitor experience officer at Lavenham Guildhall, said: “Theatrical performances are not something you’d often associate with the guildhall, but when we heard about Matthew’s show, we just knew we had to bring it here.

“The stories of transportation are both difficult to imagine and compelling and there is such an atmospheric feeling with this show that in the setting of the guildhall will be something really special.”

Matthew Crampton will be performing Human Cargo at Lavenham Guildhall on Friday, September 21, at 7.30pm.

For tickets, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lavenham-guildhall

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