New show looks back at the 1816 Ely and Littleport riots

Andy Wall (left) and Gareth Calway with the headstone of the five rioters William Beamiss, George Crow, John Dennis, Isaac Harley and Thomas South.
Andy Wall (left) and Gareth Calway with the headstone of the five rioters William Beamiss, George Crow, John Dennis, Isaac Harley and Thomas South.

With 2016 being the bicentenary of the Ely and Littleport riots, the Ely Folk Festival organisers have decided to commission a narrative commemorating the events to be performed at the festival.

The result is a superb show, Bread or Blood – a demobbed Littleport soldier’s view in May 1816 of the Ely and Littleport riots as imagined and narrated by Gareth Calway with three new ballads, music written and performed by Andy Wall.

Following performances in Littleport on Riot Day (Sunday, May 22) and Lynn (next Friday, May 27) there will be two shows in Ely prior to its final performance at the Ely Folk Festival in July. These are in the Sessions House on Friday, June 17 (the date of the special assizes where the rioters were tried and sentenced) and at the Babylon Gallery on Tuesday, June 28 (the date five of the rioters were hanged).

The Littleport show is at the Function Room, Swan on the River, Littleport, at 2.15pm and the Lynn show at 7.30pm in Marriott’s Warehouse Upstairs on the South Quay.

The Littleport show is free though spaces are limited and the Lynn show is £5 on the door or on 07582 037301.

Both Ely shows start at 7.30pm and tickets, priced £5, are available in advance from WeGotTickets.com and, if seats are still available, on the door.

Gareth Calway, of Sedgeford, is a writer of lyrics, poems, plays, novels, press features and children’s books and educational resources based in East Anglia and more details of the show can be found on his website www.garethcalway.co.uk.

Andy Wall is a popular local folk singer and musician who also chairs the Ely Folk Festival committee and helps run the Ely Folk Club www.walltowallfolk.com