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In Autumn 2016 Highly Suspect Theatre and Murder Mysteries was commissioned by Cumbria Libraries (in association with Arts Council England and the Society of Chief Librarians) to create an original murder mystery production for ‘Celebrating Shakespeare’ - a programme run by libraries nationwide to celebrate four hundred years since the death of the bard. The event was to tour six Cumbrian libraries - Carlisle, Penrith, Barrow, Whitehaven, Workington and Kendal with the purpose of creating a new performance project to engage a new demographic of the public with Shakespeare and the libraries.

In order to crack the case audiences had to examine evidence including newspaper articles, crime scene reports, threatening letters and an apparent extract from the new play. Most puzzling was a riddle written in iambic pentameter in the victim’s own blood. Decoding this groups were sent on a literary treasure hunt through the libraries following cryptic clues to book titles, all adding crucial pieces to the puzzle. Once everyone had been given opportunity to cross examine all of the suspects, teams each put forward their theories of ‘whodunnit,’ how and why, and the killer was brought to justice!

Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death’

Richard III.

400 years after his death it seems the Great Bard still has secrets to share. Rumours have spread like wildfire that a previously unknown and unpublished play has been discovered - And a sequel, no less; ‘Lots To Do About Something!’

However, mere hours before the manuscript can be authenticated, renowned Shakespearean scholar Professor Oliver Worldsastage is found dead; Stabbed 22 times in the back beside a final message written in iambic pentameter seemingly using the victim’s own blood. But is the play the thing, or did someone have other sinister reasons to want the Professor to shuffle off this mortal coil?

"We are still buzzing and we all loved every minute! Brilliant actors and everyone had a really good time. The winning team said they had been to one before (not you…) and this was much better!

So a brilliant evening, a very clever script, and lovely people."

Janice Winch, Community Services Officer, Barrow Library 'Et Tu Shakespeare'

September 2016

“I was really impressed with the quality of the overall production, the acting, the writing and of course the wonderful interaction between the Company and the participants. This I know is not easy to achieve and yet you made it look effortless. I hope it will not to be too long before we welcome you back for another evening of intrigue, comic mayhem and excruciating puns!"

Richard Hall, Senior Library Officer, Oldham Library. 'Et Tu Shakespeare'

September 2016

The audience at Carlisle Library
The highly suspicious cast
The cast at Oldham Library
The cast at Penrith Library
Whitehaven Library
Whitehaven Library
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