Immersive History at The Hold

Cohere Arts had a blast earlier this month staging an immersive theatre event and audio performance at The Hold, Suffolk Archives’ brand new home in Ipswich near the waterfront. Supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund, the event on 2nd September 2021 was attended by teachers from primary and secondary schools across Suffolk, who were introduced to this amazing new space and some of the extensive resources available to support the history curriculum.

“Loved the place – a really great resource right on our doorstep!”

Teacher feedback

As a company our visit to The Hold was also a chance to explore the immersive promenade aspects of Witchfinder under the expert guidance of director Emma Bernard. Members of the cast were encouraged to really get to know their characters via improvisation exercises, devising short interactive scenes inspired by features within The Hold’s buildings.

At the evening event, audiences were greeted by some of the inhabitants of Walpole, the village in which our version of the Witchfinder story is set. After sharing a drink with the judge, a chat with the reverend, and brushing shoulders with the ominous Matthew Hopkins himself, the audience settled in the venue’s auditorium space for a special audio performance of the show.

“This was so different and engaging – I learned some new ideas about how to present history differently.”

Teacher feedback

Finally, following the audio performance, staff from the Hold presented examples of artefacts and documents relating to the real-life historical antics of Hopkins and his colleagues, including parish records of the generous sums of money he was paid for his sordid work. They were also able to visit an exhibition of visual artworks created by attendees of Witchfinder Day, earlier this summer.

To find out more about events and visiting The Hold, visit their website.