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A story of revolt


During the hot summer of 1381, the land workers of England rose up in arms against the injustices of their times.

Economic exploitation, punitive taxation and constant warfare had pushed the working population beyond its limits.

Village after village joined the rising and the great march on London.

Full of humour as well as historical insight and reflection, When Katherine Brewed tells the stories of four characters caught up in these tumultuous events: an ex-soldier; a village girl; a freed prisoner; and Katherine, our brewer.

It also shows the royal group around the boy-king Richard II, in meltdown and despair as the rising engulfs them.

Why 'When Katherine Brewed'?

The working title for this project for several years has been When Eve Span. This was a generic reference to the medieval rhyming couplet that expressed opposition to class-based society.

"When Adam delved and Eve span,

Who was then the gentleman?"


The couplet has been used for many publications and creative projects.


For its first performances the title of the play was changed to And Katherine Brewed.


In the late mediaeval era brewing was one of the few trades a woman on her own could take up, and so achieve a degree of economic independence.


The Katherine of this play's title is such a woman.

Katherine of Lakenheath is also the only women to be mentioned in the chronicles of the time, of the thousands of women that took part in the rising.

To emphasise its historical meaning the title of our play is now When Katherine Brewed.


In When Katherine Brewed, Katherine, along with the other rebel characters in our story, gets caught up in the great events of the summer of 1381, when the poorest and most downtrodden rose up against their feudal lords.


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