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The Marsh Demons of Iken

Something strange is stirring in the mists...

One of Rust & Stardust's Participatory Projects, The Marsh Demons of Iken is a collaboration with Arts Council England.

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A supernatural drama lasting 90 minutes (including an interval) the play is designed to be rehearsed over four days by school and youth groups who then perform it to public audiences alongside three professional actors from Rust & Stardust.

An epic tale of magic, faith and furious battles that takes place against the backdrop of Dark Age England, at the height of the clash between Paganism and Christianity.

Uncanny mists and strange noises drift across the marshlands of lonely Iken, an isolated Anglo-Saxon village where people live in fear and whisper of the monstrous Marsh Demons – creatures who covet gold and snatch travellers as they pass.

The Saxon king, Penda of Mercia, leads his warbands against all who stand in his way, pushed to the limits by his avaricious queen, Cynewise, who hungers for gold.

Queen Saewara of East Anglia is holding out against the odds, but when Penda forms an alliance with the Marsh Demons it looks as if her kingdom will fall.

Only a newcomer, Botolph the Wanderer, has the courage to right wrongs and drive out the frightful fiends…

Script: Eleanor Conlon

Puppets: Katie Sommers

Costumes: Eleanor Conlon

Set and Props: Eleanor Conlon & Katie Sommers

Fight Choreography: Josh Plummer

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Participatory Projects

Our Participatory Project partnerships are a unique way for young people to engage with professional theatre.


Working with our skilled facilitators across four days of rehearsals, participants engage with a variety of art forms, including puppetry, music, dance, craft, fight choreography and more, and build confidence and communication skills in workshops which lead into live performances.


We come to you, source funding, and create bespoke experiences designed to suit you and which best support your young people.

Plus, they can be paired with delivery of Discover and Explore Arts Award qualifications.

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Arts Award

We are a proud Arts Award Centre and offer a range of opportunities for individuals and groups working towards Arts Award qualifications.

In addition to our Participatory Projects, we offer educational shows and accompanying workshops to suit your curriculum that support Discover, Explore and Bronze Arts Award certification.

These can be adapted for ages 5+ and might include puppet-making, puppetry techniques, storytelling, and more.

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Our workshops are a fun and creative way to explore the magic of shadow puppetry, table top puppetry, storytelling, music, craft activities, and more.

After consultation with you, Rust & Stardust's highly experienced facilitators guide classes or groups through a bespoke range of activities supporting curriculum goals which encourage them to be imaginative and expressive while acquiring new knowledge and skills.

All of our workshops also promote sustainability in the use of recycled materials, and can be tailored to your specific needs.

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