THE rebel army makes its way to Dorchester with BurntOut Theatre’s brand new play, Monmouth: The West Country Rebellion to perform at the Corn Exchange on Sunday. (8)

This epic history of Dorset, Devon and Somerset is told by a cast of south west actors with original live music and film projection.

June 11th 1685. The Duke of Monmouth lands at Lyme Regis with 83 men to raise a Protestant army against James II, and begin what was to be England’s last rebellion against the Crown. Five weeks later and with a 3000-strong army swelled by dissenting men and women from Dorset, Devon and Somerset, Monmouth prepared to fight the last ever pitched battle on English soil, and the first step towards modern democracy.

Produced at the Marine Theatre Lyme Regis, this brand new play was created by the team behind The Tempest of Lyme, writer Andrew Rattenbury (The Golden Hour, Doc Martin, The Postman Always Rings Twice) and director Clemmie Reynolds (BurntOut Theatre’s ‘Muscovado’; Winner Alfred Fagon Audience Award 2015).

Monmouth was first performed by a community cast on Lyme Regis seafront in July 2017 and is supported by the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, and West Dorset District Council. (Arts Council England funding pending)

The Monmouth Rebellion stands as a crucial and often over-looked first step towards modern democracy.

It was the last direct rebellion against the Crown and ended with the very last pitched battle on English soil, the Battle of Sedgemoor.

Monmouth’s army of 83 men was bolstered by local men and women as they marched north to Axminster, through Colyton and on to Chard, heading for England’s second city, Bristol and then on to London.

They were a ragbag of people from all strata of society, including one Daniel Foe, later to change his name to Daniel Defoe.

By the time Monmouth faced the Royalist Army at The Battle of Sedgemoor he had swelled his army to over three thousand Dorset men and women. More by bad luck than bad judgement, less than five weeks after stepping on to the beach, the rebellion was over. His army was defeated in the thick fogs of the Somerset levels and the Duke of Monmouth had been executed on Tower Hill.

It was five weeks that shook the nation and severely undermined the confidence of James II and his supporters, a lack of confidence that William of Orange and Mary took full advantage of just three years later in the bloodless ‘Glorious Revolution’. They landed in Brixham and marched unopposed on to London.

*Monmouth: The West Country Rebellion, Sunday October 8, 7.30pm. Dorchester Arts Centre.

Call Dorchester Arts or Dorchester TIC for tickets or more information.


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