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 Babe in arms . . . a scene from the production The Ballad of Maria Marten which is being performed at the Theatre Royal. Image: Tony Bartholomew
In search of the real Maria
How did you find out the story of Maria Marten? Did you know it before you started work on the play?
Ivan approached me after seeing another play that I had written, which was set in the early 12th century. He told me about the story of Maria Marten and asked if I’d be interested in writing a new play about it. We met in Polstead, Suffolk to walk through the village, and I was fascinated. In particular Ivan wanted the
story to focus on Maria because so many versions of this tale are centered around William Corder.
What research did you do for the show?
I stayed in Ipswich for a bit and spent a while walking around the village of Polstead, trying to get a sense of how she lived her life. I visited all the locations of Maria’s life that I thought would be mentioned in the play: Layham, Sudbury, Hadleigh. I went to the Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, which has relics relating to the murder, and the Records Office in Ipswich to look at newspaper reports. I talked to local people to try and ‘
 Beth Flintoff is the writer of The Ballad of Maria Marten which comes to Bury’s Theatre Royal this month. We hear her views on the Red Barn Murder and its victim

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