New play set to bring lawless borderlands back to life in Alnwick and Berwick

The lawless 16th century borderlands will be brought back to life in Alnwick and Berwick thanks to an exciting initiative from a theatre company.
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Elysium Theatre Company is bringing their original production of ‘Reiver – Tales from The Borders’ to Alnwick Playhouse and The Maltings in Berwick.

Set in the 1500s, when Reivers ‘raiders’ terrorized the ungoverned Anglo-Scottish border, three interlocking stories – ‘Blackmail’, ‘Godforsaken Place’ and ‘The Widow’s Path’ – paint a portrait of a world not unlike our own, in which ordinary people stand up against corruption and injustice.

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As part of the tour, a brand-new writing initiative also involves Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre and Tweedmouth Middle School.

Reiver – Tales from The Borders. Picture: Victoria WaiReiver – Tales from The Borders. Picture: Victoria Wai
Reiver – Tales from The Borders. Picture: Victoria Wai

Elysium’s founder and Artistic Director, Jake Murray, said: “The Reivers are a massive part of the history of this part of the country, and the wider history not only of the country as a whole but America, Canada and Australia, and yet few people know about them.

“Reiver families gave us two Presidents of the US - Richard Nixon and Lyndon B Johnson - and the first man to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong. They’ve gone to be footballers (the Charltons and the Robsons), retailers (the Fenwicks) and hoteliers (the Marriots). Most people here in the North East are descended from the Reivers but don’t know it.

“This project, which builds on our work with schools, is all about giving the region its history back.”

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The tour has been made possible thanks to funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Northumberland County Council and Durham University.

It is at Alnwick Playhouse on October 20-21 and The Maltings on October 27.

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