Baptism goes wrong in Mayfield's unique community play

More than 100 Sussex performers, three venues and a promenade play specially written for the village make up the Mayfield community show, When the Devil Comes Calling, taking place at the end of October.

Jonathan White, who plays the Vicar in the play, in St Dunstans Church, Mayfield. Picture by Kirsten Woodcraft
Jonathan White, who plays the Vicar in the play, in St Dunstans Church, Mayfield. Picture by Kirsten Woodcraft

The play opens at St Dunstan’s Church in July 1914, but it’s not just the looming war that is worrying the people of Mayfield. They have the Devil in their midst, a band of suffragists and Mary Poppins…

After the church, the action moves to the Memorial Hall before finishing in Mayfield School Chapel.

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When the Devil Comes Calling is produced by the award-winning specialist in site-specific theatre, The Company, and the Mayfield Steering Group, and has been written by Suzi Hopkins.

Shows are from October 24 to October 27 at 7.15pm (and 2.30pm on October 27).

Director Stephen Israel, from The Company, is delighted at the interest it has been provoking: “We got contacted a couple of years ago by a group of Mayfield people associated with a couple of amateur dramatic companies, and they just said ‘Are you interested in doing a community play?’ and I said ‘Yes!’ and it has taken us this long to get it together.

“You are quite limited as to the time of year that you can do it if you want young people involved. We have got a six-year-old and certainly one person of 80, and we are doing the whole thing in three different venues.

“We are starting in the church with a baptism that goes horribly wrong. We are starting in 1914 and go through to 1919, through World War One and women’s emancipation, and it is all told by six rather famous women in Mayfield’s history. But this baptism goes terribly wrong! And the people are ejected from the church by the Devil… and then they process.

“This is a celebration of the community of Mayfield, and as well as the 50 actors, there are two local filmmakers, the Mayzing Choir, St Dunstan’s Jubilee Handbell Ringers, Beggars’ Gate Band, and the Mayfield Silver Band all taking part.”

Tickets £10 (kids £3, family £22) from Burnetts, High Street, Mayfield. Visit or call 0333 666 3366.

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