When not carrying out his deadly trade at prisons nationwide, Pierrepoint was serving customers at his Lancashire pub. This strange double life is portrayed by Martin Oldfield in this co-production by The Dukes and Café Society.
Pierrepoint – The Hangman’s Tale is set in 1957 when the hangman resigns after more than 25 years as the country’s ‘Official Executioner’. He tells the chilling truth about a career in which he executed more than 400 men and women including Ruth Ellis, Lord Haw Haw, Derek Bentley, Timothy Evans and 202 war criminals.
The tale is not grim as you may think as it is peppered with charm and humour is presented for the first time in the round, which invites the audience to be more involved. The Lancaster theatre is an appropriate venue for this unique perspective on capital punishment as between the late 18th and mid 19th Centuries, the city’s crown court sentenced more people to hang than any other in England except the Old Bailey.
The play was written by former crime reporter, Peter Harrison who once observed a court case where one of Pierrepoint’s subsequent victims was sentenced to death.
Pierrepoint – The Hangman’s Tale premiered at Edinburgh in 2008 and has returned there to great acclaim in 2012.It runs at the Dukes from 31 January - 23 February.