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Village provides cast and backdrop for theatrical account of its history

PUBLISHED: 11:37 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:37 09 September 2019

Illuminating the Knight is part of a wider project to restore the medieval stained glass windows in the church  Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRE

Illuminating the Knight is part of a wider project to restore the medieval stained glass windows in the church Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRE

Spinning Wheel Theatre

As the Bard well knew, all the world's a stage - and now a Suffolk village is set to provide the backdrop for a theatrical retelling of its history.

Eva Stearn, Grant Vicat and Asha Ray in rehearsal for Illuminating the Knight  Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATREEva Stearn, Grant Vicat and Asha Ray in rehearsal for Illuminating the Knight Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRE

A medieval pageant will see villagers bring heritage to life in a one-off outdoor experience near Bury St Edmunds this month.

Illuminating the Knight will use local landmarks to chart the history of Bardwell by way of the Black Death, Peasants' Revolt and Hundred Years' War.

Settings include the windmill, Church of St Peter and St Paul, the Dun Cow pub and Tithe Barn Village Hall, as a cast of locals treat audiences to an immersive theatre production.

At the centre of the story will be Sir William de Berdewell (1357-1434), tax collector and benefactor to St Peter and St Paul's.

Eva Stearn is one of only a couple of members of the cast from outside Bardwell  Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATREEva Stearn is one of only a couple of members of the cast from outside Bardwell Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRE

The project involves about 50 people from the community, including children from Bardwell Primary School, members of Bardwell Manor Equestrian Centre and local bell-ringers, with other volunteers helping to make props and costumes.

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Illuminating the Knight is part of a wider project to restore the medieval stained glass windows in the church, and make the building more user-friendly by installing more toilets and kitchen facilities.

The project received £46,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £10,000 from the National Churches Trust Repair Grant.

Settings include the windmill, Church of St Peter and St Paul, the Dun Cow pub and Tithe Barn Village Hall  Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRESettings include the windmill, Church of St Peter and St Paul, the Dun Cow pub and Tithe Barn Village Hall Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRE

Churchwarden Dinkie Williamson said: "We hope that the people of Bardwell will enjoy learning about Sir William De Berdewell, and life in the late 14th, early 15th centuries, and have a new understanding and appreciation of their significant heritage."

The new walking production has been directed by professional East Anglian touring company, Spinning Wheel Theatre.

Amy Wyllie, artistic director, who directed Illuminating the Knight, said: "It is great to work on an original piece of theatre with a village which has so much interesting history.

"Theatre is a good way to bring communities together and we hope people find there is a lot more to Bardwell than first meets the eye."

Asha Ray in rehearsal for Illuminating the Knight  Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATREAsha Ray in rehearsal for Illuminating the Knight Picture: SPINNING WHEEL THEATRE

Illuminating the Knight starts in the church at 3pm on Saturday, September 28, and is suitable for all ages. Tickets cost £4 for adults and £2.50 for children.

Advance booking is recommended. Visit tithebarnbardwell.onesuffolk.net/events.

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