Above: The Battle of Heptonstall, a community play about the English Civil War battle of 1643 for Sky Arts.
Written and directed by Michael Crowley, photos by Bruce Cutts. A commission from Sky Arts . Promotional film by Nick Wilding here. Read review.
The Cell at 24/7 Theatre Festival, Bolton Octagon Studio, Unity Theatre Liverpool, We Are Here Festival Canberra Aus. intense…a powerful piece of theatre’ British Theatre Guide. ‘Drama doesn’t come more real‘ Manchester Theatre Awards.
“A play in two Acts with a captivating introduction by the author. The true story of John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee is one of the most bizarre in English criminal history. Lee is the only person to have to have cheated the gallows after the trapdoor failed to open. This happened at Exeter Prison in 1885 when the notoriously inept public hangman James Berry gave up after three abortive attempts. Lee spent 22 years in prison before being released. On retirement, Berry from Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, who carried out 134 executions, was the first executioner to write about his experiences in My Experiences As An Executioner. His resulting celebrity led to him taking to the boards, spinning gruesome tales of his former trade and showing audiences his dark souvenirs. Michael Crowley’s imaginative play is set in a down-at-heel northern music hall where the proprietor is bent on reviving the venue’s glory days by persuading the now released John Lee to team up with Berry in a perilous double act.”Published by Waterside Press
‘A Warning Against Idle Gossip is a gripping story, convincingly told.‘ Made Up Beyond Omarska: ‘An excellent, if uncomfortable play that illustrates the asylum-related issues vividly, yet also holds a strong narrative interest.‘ The Stage Oedipus in Jail at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minneapolis, USA. Below: screenplays and workbooks for Lime Arts on alcohol misuse.
Nowhere Near Utopia, a documentary ﬁlm (20 min) by Fred Dalmasso exploring the early post-war years of South Oxhey, a London-overspill council estate, with John Schad and Michael Crowley, both former residents. The film begins with Schad’s novel about the estate, The Late Walter Benjamin (Bloomsbury), and its adaptation as a play and ends with Crowley’s poem ‘Oxhey Woods’, from his volume Closer to Home (Prolebooks).