Vinegar Tom at RADA

In 2017 Cressida directed Caryl Churchill's Vinegar Tom at RADA with the third years in the GBS.

Ostensibly Vinegar Tom is a play about the cruel and paranoid witchhunts that swept through England in the seventeenth century.


All the islanders emerged from this theatre space: Ariel and her spirits were the ushers that ripped the audience’s tickets, Caliban was Roy Bowen’s crumbling statue that came to life, Miranda was part of the faded backdrop….and Prospero was the Director who was in and out of control of the events on stage.

The play asks, what is a witch? Well surely that’s an easy question to answer. A Witch is an evil woman who engages in Devilish Acts whilst flying on a broom stick, wearing a pointy hat, and has a Familiar – preferably a black cat. Of course, people don’t believe that witches actually exist now. Or do they?

Written in 1976 Caryl Churchill wanted to “write a play with no witches in it” and explore how “witches were a scapegoat in times of stress, like Jews and Blacks”. More importantly she wanted to explore how those accused of witchcraft “were often those on the edges of society, old, poor, single, sexually unconventional” and how our own modern society still brands such women as witches

With contemporary songs created for this production - think Pussy Riot, X Factor, Burlesque cabaret, Philip Glass, and This Morning TV! - this play holds a mirror up to our own modern misogyny.

Designer: Verity Quinn
Lighting Designer: Christopher Nairne
Composer: Jon McLeod