PUPILS will be taking to the stage to star in a production about Mistley’s prolific Witchfinder General.

Manningtree High School’s Year Seven students will be performing the Matthew Hopkins story to their classmates.

Their story of the self-proclaimed Witchfinder is based on a film, which was made locally in recent years.

More than 300 women are believed to have been executed for witchcraft between 1644 and 1646, many at the hands of Matthew Hopkins.

He is thought to have lived at what is now the Mistley Thorn and held preliminary examinations of those accused of witchcraft at the White Hart, in Manningtree.

The production will star 30 pupils who will be recreating characters such as Matthew Hopkins, Hopkins’ associate John Stearne and Elizabeth Clarke, the first woman persecuted by Hopkins.

Alan Swift, head of music at Manningtree High School, said: “As part of the school’s curriculum day, Year Sevens have been learning about the legend that is Matthew Hopkins.

“There will be a performance based on the film entitled Witchfinder produced and directed by Kerry King and John Worland with the Headgate Theatre.

“Students have rehearsed music that would have been played during the time of Matthew Hopkins.

“They have also designed and produced costumes and props. The script from the film has been edited by Kerry and John to be suitable for a Year Seven audience.

“We have chosen to do this production as we wanted to look into the local history of Manningtree.

“Once we became aware of the film being produced, we wanted to work with the creative team to recreate a school version.”

The production, which is being shown to Year Sevens on Friday, January 19, will take place in the school hall at 2pm.