The play Presumed Guilty will be presented by the Mercury Theatre Company at Manly-Lota RSL hall, Melville Terrace, Manly, on August 4, 11 and 12.
Written by Cleveland Playwrite Margaret Dakin, the play forms an insight into the views and prejudices of the legal, medical and general public of the day and creates the climate that led to the hanging of Ellen Thomson. Thomson was executed at Boggo Road Goal on June 13, 1887 – the only woman ever legally hanged in Queensland.
Although Ellen could neither read nor write, it was reported at the time of her execution, that she was a woman of ‘rude eloquence’.
Ellen’s story is known to many, but the play, Presumed Guilty is a dynamic dramatisation of the events leading up to her death and her unique position in the chronicles of the state of Queensland.
While audiences might remain undecided as to Ellen’s guilt or innocence, I hope they will acknowledge that she lived her life with spirit and heart, and went to her death calmly and with dignity.” Ms Dakin said.
Now 130 years since the hanging, the play is a fitting memory of the times. Ms Dakin joins Glenda Ashleigh and other speakers in a history presentation on Saturday, July 22 at the Wynnum Library.
“The law of the day was that in the case of homicide, murder was presumed to have been committed and any persons involved were presumed guilty until they were proven innocent,” Ms Ashleigh said.
Bookings for the play are available at mercurytheatrewynnum.com or 0403 735 383.