Mutton: Pay-what-you-can theatre performance coming to Beeston

The Yorkshire Witch is coming!

It’s 1809 and Mary Bateman is about to be hanged for witchcraft and murder. Her career of crime has included fake identities, poisoned pudding, a holy hen, drunk watchmen and – of course – a freshly-shaved leg of Mutton. But who is she? Why did she do it? And why should we care today? Brave Words explore the answers in their new theatre production, ‘Mutton’.

“When I found out about Mary I was immediately fascinated. This outrageous woman, selling her husband’s furniture, pretending her hen was prophesying the end of the world … all in the city where I grew up! I couldn’t help but read more, and Mutton began.” Chris Singleton, Playwright

‘Mutton’ is a dark comedy exploring the life and times of the Yorkshire Witch. How the desperation of ordinary folk in the early 1800s is paralleled today; the dangers we face by grasping a little more control over our lives; and why we should take patriarchal history and shove it up a chicken’s arse.

“I’m delighted to be directing Mutton, a rare chance to lead a stellar female-led cast and creative team. Chris has written a cracking, anarchic show which I cannot wait to get started on. And what a perfect time to explore Mary Bateman and her legendary hustle.” Rachael Halliwell, Director

Mutton will be performed across some of the most disadvantaged Leeds communities where Brave Words work as part of a company-wide policy of accessible, local, professional theatre. Supported by Harrogate Theatre, it will explore untold working class stories across Leeds and North Yorkshire.

“In 1809, Leeds was growing fast, new industry was changing the world, people were struggling to survive under poverty and inequality. Mary’s cons thrived because her victims were desperate for any hope that life might get easier. There are so many parallels today.” Chris Singleton

To witness the prophesies of the one and only prophet hen of Leeds, and the rise and fall of Mary Bateman, catch ‘Mutton’ this November. Coming to St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Beeston, on Thursday 23 November at 7:30pm. Tickets:


This post was written by Rheanna Atkinson

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2 Replies to “Mutton: Pay-what-you-can theatre performance coming to Beeston”

  1. Hi
    My names Lee Catton Mary Bateman is my 6th Grandmother and ive researched her life for some years now. I’ve just come across your article and never knew there was a theatre production about her life. I am originally from Leeds and my ancestors originate from Kirkgate and the surrounding areas. I worked at the Leeds Grand Theatre for many years and was enquiring if the production was still running ? Also I would imagine there may be interest in Otley and ilkley which could accommodate the production. Could you please let me know if the production is running as I would like to see it.
    Thank you
    Lee Catton

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