Historic trials re-enacted at Warwick courts

By IH 21/02 Updated: 22/02 08:34

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Buy photos » Warwick Mayor Trudy Offer, together with Michael Tuckey as Judge Lord Tophhem Tippler, David Southam as Clerk of the Court, and Caroline Williams as 'Bunny' a 'Lady of easy virtue'. (s)

JUSTICE will be re-enacted at Warwick's historic courts next week.

When Warwick County Court moved to the new Justice Centre in Leamington in 2011, the original court rooms in Northgate Street – where justice had been dispensed for centuries - fell silent and have remained so ever since.

But Slaughterhouse Players, a group of Warwick actors, will bring the Grade 1 listed building back to life when they present A Grand Assize on March 2.

In the great Court 1 they will be re-enacting trials from the 18th and 19th centuries, presented in a comic-drama fashion.

The cases have been taken from the transcripts in the County Records Office and are written to mirror the courtroom procedure and language of the time in which they originally took place.

Members of the audience are being encouraged to dress in the fashions of the time and take part in the proceedings.

Twelve of their number, who will be drawn at random, will take their places in the courtroom as members of the jury to deliver the verdict on the trials taking place before them. The actual verdicts given at the time of the origin trials will not be revealed until the end of the evening.

The remainder of the audience will be seated in the viewing gallery. Here they will be joined by a number of cast members who will encourage them to join in the rumbustious atmosphere by express their views on the proceedings with occasional outbursts and remarks.

Before attending the court cases, members of the audience will be taken on a conducted tour of the cells in the basement of the building, including the dungeon where many poor souls died from disease and hypothermia while awaiting trial.

In the great Entrance Hall there will be a mounted exhibition of artefacts and historical documents displaying aspects of the court’s history and the legal procedures of the time.

Warwick Mayor Trudy Offer said: "Many of us who live in and love Warwick have long been waiting for life to be breathed back into the Old Warwick Crown Courts and Judges House.

"As Mayor I am delighted to be working with The Slaughterhouse Players to give those who would come, an experience of Court Cases past, as just one demonstration of the many ideas we have for this wonderful building. An evening encompassing the past, I can’t wait’".

Entrance will be through the main door to the courts in Northgate Street, which will open at 7pm. Tickets, priced £15 and including a Warwickshire supper which will be served in the Judges House adjoining the court, are available in Warwick from the Tourist Information Office in Jury Street, The Tuckery in Old Square, The Tilted Wig in the Market Square, The Oak at Coten End, and The Wild Boar on Lakin Road, or by calling 0771 925 1017.

Warwick Mayor Trudy Offer, together with Michael Tuckey as Judge Lord Tophhem Tippler, David Southam as Clerk of the Court, and Caroline Williams as 'Bunny' a 'Lady of easy virtue'. (s)

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