Magic and marsh demons brought to life in new performance

The marsh demon will be arriving in Orford

The marsh demon will be arriving in Orford - Credit: Rust and Stardust Productions

A marsh demon is set to descend on a Suffolk village as part of a new production. 

Puppet theatre company Rust & Stardust Productions have partnered with the Thomas Marshall Education Fund (TMEF) and Orford school to bring the Saxon legend of St Botolph and the Marsh Demons to life in Orford. 

The TMEF was set up in memory of Orford teenager Thomas Marshall, who died in a road accident on the outskirts of the village just before his A level examination results in 2009.  

The Marsh Demons of Iken is a tale of magic, faith and furious battles that takes place against the backdrop of dark age England. 

The performance will feature a new nine-foot marsh demon queen puppet, elaborate fight choreography and detailed period costumes, the play will be performed on July 9.  


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“The project will enable dozens of young people to work with professional actors and puppeteers to take part in a cross-curricular performance-based project,” said Katie Sommers from Rust & Stardust. 

“The children will learn how to make their own puppets for use in the show, and will rehearse puppetry, acting, singing, and dancing, all before taking part in the public performances.”  

Thomas Marshall

Thomas Marshall

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This new play is the fourth collaboration between Rust & Stardust and TMEF, following successful productions Black Shuck (2018), The Green Children of Woolpit (2017), and The Wild Man of Orford (2016).  

Proceeds will support the work of TMEF to advance the education, training and life skills of the young people of Mozambique to enable them to make a sustainable living and provide active support within their communities.  

“We’re overjoyed to have been awarded Arts Council Funding for the project at a time when people, especially in rural areas, desperately need access to the arts and collaborative experiences,” said Eleanor Conlon, the company’s co-director.  

“We have all had to be so patient due to coronavirus.

“We started rehearsing with the children over Zoom last year - the opportunity to tell this story is long overdue.”  

The Marsh Demons of Iken will be unleashed in St Bartholomew’s Church  on July 9 with performances at 1pm and 6pm. Tickets (£2.50 children, £7.50 adults) are available at contact@tmef.org.uk 

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