The Enfield Haunting is at Richmond Theatre from Tuesday 21st November 2023 to Saturday 25th November 2023.
Catherine Tate (Dr Who, Queen of Oz) and David Threlfall (Funny Woman, Shameless) star in the world premiere of this major new play by Paul Unwin (co-creator of the world’s longest running medical drama Casualty).
The Hodgson’s had no idea what a poltergeist was when, in the summer of 1977, furniture and toys started moving of their own accord. An ordinary, working-class family, who lived in a north London council house became the centre of one of the most famous poltergeist events in the world. This is the story of one night in the spring of 1978 when events were approaching a climax.
Based on the first-hand accounts of one of the ghost hunters, The Enfield Haunting is the true story of what happened when a dedicated single mother, tries to protect her three children from something that is incomprehensible, deeply disturbing and is hurtling to a terrifying conclusion
Catherine said: “I’m thrilled to be part of The Enfield Haunting and can’t wait to start working with the first-class creative team and the brilliant David Threlfall.”
David Threlfall, who played Frank Gallagher in the highly acclaimed TV series Shameless, is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (he played Don Quixote in the RSC’s production of and last year was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in Martin McDonagh’s The Hangman, plays Maurice Grosse, a ghost hunter.
David said: ‘I’m delighted to be reuniting with director Angus Jackson and working for the first time with the amazing Catherine Tate on Paul Unwin’s version of the UK’s most famous incident of psychological inhabitation, The Enfield Haunting, in 1977.’
The Hodgson’s had no idea what a poltergeist was when, in the summer of 1977, furniture and toys started moving of their own accord. They were an ordinary, working-class family, who lived in a North London council house at 284 Green Street, Enfield, but for the next eighteen months became the centre of one of the most famous poltergeist events in the world.
Janet, the possessed sixteen-year-old, was nearly pulled out of a window. The local ‘lolly pop lady’ saw her floating six feet in the air in an upstairs room and Janet was found fast asleep in a neighbours’ bed. There are tapes of Janet growling for hours in a voice that doctors said would destroy a sixteen-year-old girl’s vocal cords after a few minutes.
Paul Unwin’s new play is the story of one night in the spring of 1978 when events were approaching a climax. Based on the first-hand accounts of one the one the ghost hunters, The Enfield Haunting is the true story of what happened when Peggy Hodgson tries to protect her three children from something that is incomprehensible, deeply disturbing and is hurtling to a terrifying conclusion.
Maurice Grosse was one of the ghost hunters. A kind and protective man, he was determined to help the Hodgson’s but as the night unfolds it slowly becomes clear that he is searching for something that he is convinced that only Janet can help him find.
Writer Paul Unwin said: ‘Before Guy Lyon Playfair the poltergeist expert died in 2018, I spent a long afternoon with him in his basement flat in Earls Court. He and Maurice Grosse had spent months with the Hodgson family trying to protect them, but also make sense of what was going on. What Guy told me was terrifying. So much of what appears to have happened was impossible to fake and yet at the centre of the whole thing were real people trying to make sense of their lives. The Enfield Haunting is a psychological ghost story. It is a ghost story for now.’
Paul Unwin co-created the world’s longest running medical drama, Casualty (alongside Jeremy Brock). He has directed extensively for TV, including, Shameless, Five Little Pigs, Messiah, Combat Hospital and Breathless. As a theatre director his work includes: Arthur Miller’s The Man Who had all the Luck at Bristol Old Vic (where he was Artistic Director) and the Young Vic, and the Misanthrope for Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre. His other plays include This Much is True and The Promise. His films include The American and Elijah.
Further cast and creatives will be announced in due course.
Book tickets for The Enfield Haunting which is at Richmond Theatre from Tuesday 21st November 2023 to Saturday 25th November 2023.
Mon – Sat at 19:30
Thu and Sat at 14:30
Age guidance 12+
View All Shows Booking at Richmond Theatre
The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ
For Information – This May Contain Spoilers
The Enfield Poltergeist is one of the most famous cases of alleged supernatural activity in modern history. The events took place at 284 Green Street in Enfield, London, England, between 1977 and 1979. The alleged poltergeist activity centered around sisters Janet and Margaret Hodgson, who were 11 and 13 years old at the time.
The first reports of strange activity began in August 1977, when Peggy Hodgson, the mother of the two girls, called the police to report that furniture was moving and that her children had heard knocking sounds on the walls. A woman police constable who attended the scene reported witnessing a chair “wobble and slide” but “could not determine the cause of the movement.”
Over the next two years, the Hodgson family reported a wide range of paranormal activity, including:
- Furniture moving on its own
- Objects flying through the air
- Loud noises
- Disembodied voices
- Scratching noises
- Janet and Margaret being levitated
The case attracted the attention of the media and the paranormal research community. In 1978, Guy Lyon Playfair, a well-known paranormal investigator, visited the Hodgson house and conducted a series of investigations. Playfair was initially skeptical of the claims, but he eventually came to believe that the family was experiencing genuine supernatural phenomena.
The Enfield Poltergeist case remains one of the most controversial and debated cases of alleged paranormal activity in history. Some people believe that the events were genuine, while others believe that they were a hoax. There is no definitive answer to the question of what really happened at 284 Green Street, but the case continues to fascinate and intrigue people to this day.
The case has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and documentaries. It was also the inspiration for the 2015 three-part drama series The Enfield Haunting.