Connecticut Landmarks’ Hempsted Houses are pleased to announce a new collaboration with Flock Theatre on a production of Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible. Set during Salem’s turbulent witchcraft hysteria of 1692, the play remains one of the greatest representations of late 17th-century life in New England. Flock Theatre will perform at the Hempsted Houses Thursday, August 16th through Sunday, August 19th and Thursday, August 23rd through Sunday, August 26th. Sponsored in part by the Frank Loomis Palmer Foundation, all performances begin at 7:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or can be reserved by calling (860) 443-3119.
Audiences are encouraged to bring picnic dinners, blankets, or lawn chairs and enjoy this classic of American theatre under the stars. The Hempsted Houses’ grounds, with their large yard and imposing trees, serve as a perfect outdoor setting for Miller’s tale of a New England town tearing itself apart amidst accusations of witchcraft.
Directed by Flock Associate Artist, Michael Langlois, The Crucible tells the story of John Proctor (Ed Phillips), a farmer whose private sins sit at the heart of the town’s madness. Proctor’s relationship with young servant-girl Abigail Williams, (Melissa Buriak) and her search for vengeance set in motion a cascade of events that lead to arrests, trials and executions. Through Miller’s play, the audience is brought face to face with the unfortunate reality of bigotry and deceit that was the reality of these trials.
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, has historical ties to Connecticut. Nearly half a century prior to the infamous witch hunt in Salem, Massachusetts, the Colonies of Connecticut and New Haven brought numerous suspected witches to trial, and had the first recorded hanging of a witch in New England in 1647. The Hartford Witch Trials, of 1662-1663, eerily foreshadow the mass hysteria, which would later follow in Salem. New London also shares a unique connection to Salem’s Witch Trials as Wait Winthrop, the son John Winthrop the Younger who founded New London, was a Chief Judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court and in 1692 was appointed to the Court of Oyer and Terminer that presided over the Salem Witch Trials.
The Hempsted Houses are located at 11 Hempstead Street in New London and will be open for regular tours from May to October. Hours are as follows: May and June, Saturday & Sunday, 1 – 4 pm; July and August, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 1 – 4 pm; September and October, Saturday & Sunday, 1 – 4 pm. Admission is $7 for adults; $6 for students, teachers, and seniors; $4 for children age 6-18; children under 6 and Connecticut Landmarks members are free. Families (2 adults with unlimited children) are $15, groups of 10 or more are $5 each. For school groups and special curriculum-based programming, please contact the education department at (860) 247-8996 x 14. For groups of 10 or more, please call the Hempsted Houses at (860) 443-7949.
About The Hempsted Houses
The 1678 Joshua Hempsted House in New London is one of New England’s oldest and most well documented dwellings. Adjacent to the Joshua Hempsted House is a rare stone house built in 1759 by Nathaniel Hempsted. Both structures survived the 1781 burning of New London and stand today as testaments of 17th and 18th-century daily life. The Hempsted Houses are open from May to October for drop-in visitation and offer youth-based and public programs.
Joshua Hempsted the second was born in 1678 in the house that bears his name. From 1711 until his death in 1758, Joshua kept a diary, which today is one of the best sources about life in colonial New London. Joshua’s diary provides hundreds of pages of valuable information, as well as his insight about early New London people and activities, including the life of enslaved African-American, Adam Jackson. Tours of the Joshua Hempsted House bring to life this diary, engaging visitors with Joshua’s struggle to provide for his family and juggle his many responsibilities.
The stone Nathaniel Hempsted House was constructed for Joshua’s grandson Nathaniel Hempsted. He was a merchant and one of three rope makers in maritime New London.
About Connecticut Landmarks
Founded in 1936 as the Antiquarian & Landmarks Society, Connecticut Landmarks is the largest state-wide heritage museum organization in Connecticut. The historic, landmark properties span four centuries of Connecticut history and include: the Amasa Day House, Moodus; the Amos Bull House, Hartford; the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, Bethlehem; the Butler-McCook House & Garden and Main Street History Center, Hartford; the Buttolph-Williams House, Wethersfield; the Hempsted Houses, New London; the Isham-Terry House, Hartford; the Nathan Hale Homestead, Coventry; the Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden, Suffield.
Connecticut Landmarks’ mission is to inspire interest and encourage learning about the American past by preserving selected historic properties, collections and stories and presenting programs that meaningfully engage the public and our communities. For more information, please visit www.ctlandmarks.org.