Riotous Living, 1992

Riotous Living PosterSynopsis

In 1830, the conditions of poverty were severe in rural Dorset. Wages were at their lowest and villagers were struggling in the fields, trying to cope with the newly installed threshing machines. A group of Travelling Players arrived at Kingston Lacy house, bringing rumours that the infamous ‘Captain Swing’ had been seen in the locality, sparking off rioting and burning.

Meanwhile, at Kingston Hall, owner William John Bankes prepares to go off traveling abroad, in search of more exotic treasures to bring home for the Hall.

The play is a fictionalized account of the confrontations which took place between the gentry and the land workers, and particularly what happened late one summer evening in 1830 when Lady Despencer crossed the ‘ha ha’ to a world she had only seen in idealized paintings of rural life.

See photos of the production here

About the production

The play was a mixture of scripted and improvised drama devised and written by Tony Horitz, Gill Horitz, Sharon Sims and students from the participating schools and Wimborne Community Theatre.

Linda Colley (The Observer, July 1990) said, ‘History is story-telling, an imaginative reconstruction of individual experiences and perceptions, so imaginative in fact that it blurs with and becomes indistinguishable from fiction.’

Archive materials

The following items from Riotous Living have been stored in our materials archive. Click here to view.

  1. Programme
  2. Newspaper clippings from the press
  3. Costume designs
  4. School drawings
  5. Photos of the artists
  6. Riotous Living Report
  7. Poster
  8. Music & lyrics of original & traditional songs from the production
  9. Videos