Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre

Run by Sarah McLane, Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre decided to create their own original piece of theatre inspired by the Reivers. The result was a ten minute long drama about the attempt of two Reiver families to resolve their disputes by marrying off their children to each other. As always with the Reivers, this did not going to plan.

The result was A REIVER WEDDING, a gripping, tense drama about family politics, religion, forced marriage and generational divides, all culminating in a pitched battle.

The result was a tremendous piece of theatre. You can find the devised script,  below, designs of the set and images from rehearsals. The performance was also filmed and will be appearing here soon.


Johnstone Family at Grave Site

Mother: My Darling Son, my only son .. what are we to do without him Robert?

Father: Hush now Margret , our son died bravely defending the Johnstone family name, and to honour him we will find another way for our family to live on ..

Captain: I am sorry for your loss he was an admirable and respected man.

Father: Yes, Our best and only son and heir. My lands and properties will be targeted now its known I only have daughters ..

Captain: Sir, about that, I have a proposition for you.

Father: Go on

Captain: I have an ally in the Elliot household, they have a son the right age for Elizabeth your daughter – perhaps we could form an alliance? Bond our two families together against interference from raiders?

Father: Yes it would be a powerful alliance – but can they be trusted?

Captain: I will speak to my contact and make introductions

Father: Very well but be careful, the Elliots are no fools they will want something out of this.

A few days later the Elliot Household

Mid conversation

Mr Elliot: Well Captain I think that this may be a good deal for us, perhaps my eldest Edward. Sadly his first wife passed without bearing him any children.. is this Johnstone daughter young? Fit?

Captain: Yes sir she is ready for marriage she is 15 and has been raised well

Enter sons

Mr Elliot: Ah here are my sons now, Edward and Malcolm

( hand shakes and hellos)

Mr Elliot: Mary – where is that girl! Mary !! Bring us drinks.

(Mary the maid brings in a tray of drinks hand them out Edward first)

Edward: Takes drink, spits it out  What is this Stupid Girl?? The drink is sour! Throws drink on Mary

Mary: (Cries )Sorry Sir, so Sorry.. takes beaker and exits

Edward: I apologise about her Captain she is new from our last raid..

Captain: No matter, I need to leave anyway.  Mr Elliot thank you I will speak with Armstrong directly about a meeting, set up a place and time.


Priest sitting with bible Elizabeth enters.

Elizabeth: Father please I need your help

Priest: Please sit my child, how can I help you?

Elizabeth sits down

Elizabeth: My parents want me to marry Edward Elliot, but I do not want to be a wife, I want to devote my life to the church.. not to a man.

Priest: I see.  Would this marriage benefit your family?

Elizabeth: Yes.  since my brother died my father has been worries about raiders, he is old and my mother can no longer bear children .. he need someone to take over but I do not want this life. Please can you help me?

Priest: Have you met this young man ?

Elizabeth: No but I have heard tales about him, he is cruel

Priest: Elizabeth, I understand what you feel, but God had a plan and it is your duty to follow his plan, you have a duty to your family and now you are your fathers only child you must obey his will, as it is the will of God.  Remember

 “ Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 

Elizabeth: Yes Father. I will try.

The Negotiation

Neutral meeting place – outside

March Warden: Gentleman as the Warden I have brought you together her on neutral land to discuss you  plans without threats of violence.

Mr Johnstone: There will be no problem with me or my men Warden – this is a negotiation, a friendly meeting .. right Mr Elliot?

Mr Elliot: Indeed we are keen to make agreement with you, my son here is ready to take Elizabeth as his wife – dependent on us getting a good deal out of this of course..

Mr Johnstone: As you are aware I lost my son a month ago, I am proposing this arrangement to protect my lands so we can join our families together to protect both out lands from the northern raiders.

Mr Elliot: Yes, in see what you need but what I need is reassurance that this marriage will benefit me, in the short term you understand there are things l need.

Mr Johnstone: I am willing to provide a dowry – what do you want?

Mr Elliot hand the Warden a piece of paper – he looks at it nods and hands it to Mr Johnstone. He reads it.      

Mr Johnstone: Fine. I agree but in the long term , Edward will join my , and when my daughter produces a male child, I want that child to be named after me. I want the Johnstone name to continue, my grandson will be my heir.

Mr Elliot steps aside and talks to Edward there is some discussion , Mr Elliot moves back to Johnstone and the Warden.

Mr Elliot: We agree these terms.  

Warden: Excellent – I will have the agreement notarised by my clerk. Congratulations gentleman. I look forward to the wedding.

Night before the wedding everyone is meeting

Everyone enters there is general milling around people in small groups greeting each other. Edward and Elizabeth meet in the middle for the first time.

Edward: Hello future wife, Elizabeth right?

Elizabeth: Yes Sir, I am Elizabeth.

Edward: Let me be understood – I feel nothing for you – this is my duty to my family, and you will have a duty to me, from tomorrow. No longer your father .. but me.  You will answer to me, do as I bid and instruct are we clear? 

Elizabeth: Yes Sir

Edward: Good. Well the first duty we have is to produce a new heir.. so be ready and you better have a boy.

He walks away back to his father and brother .  She moves away to her mother

Mrs Johnstone: Ah Elizabeth you have spoken with Edward?

Elizabeth: Yes Mother, he erm,  he was just explaining some things to me.

Mrs Johnstone: Oh Excellent,  I was just telling the Warden about your new lodgings – you will have a new home built for you and Edward near our land isn’t that kind.

Elizabeth: Yes, yes that is very thoughtful of my father.

Mrs Johnstone: Until then you will be with us, my dear at home.

Elizabeth: That is good to know mother.

We leave them as a servant comes up to offer them a drink

We move over to see Malcolm and Mr Elliot talking with the Priest in the background. Edward is not with them but with the Captain and Mr Johnstone.

Mr Elliot: Everything seems to be going to plan.

Malcolm: This is stupid we should just raid them now take what we want and be off, why are we bothering with all  this marriage?

Mr Elliot: Son why risk losing men? The Johnstone’s have land in the west on the southern boarders if we get it this way no one can question what we do with it .. we can take over from the inside don’t you see?

Malcolm: Seems like it will take to long if you ask me

Mr Elliot: Sighs  You don’t see the bigger picture .. good job I have Edward he gets it

Malcolm: I could have done this father, married her I would do a better job than him, at least I could keep my wife alive…

Mr Elliot: Shut your mouth Malcolm what happened to Hannah was an accident.. he hit her too hard that’s all and she knocked her head on the mantle.. an accident .. he won’t do that with this one..

They drink their drinks

Mr Elliot: Just do you part and look happy.. lets go talk to Mr Johnstone.

They move off and the Priest steps forward

Priest: I can not let this wedding happen after what I just heard. I must speak to Elizabeth.  Girl!

Servant comes over

Servant: Yes Father, how can I help you?

Priest: Please tell Elizabeth that she needs to attend chapel in 5 minutes for instructions on tomorrow

Servant: Right away.

Priest: I will help her tonight.. send her away and stop this evil families plot..

Time passes it get dark the stage is empty, near a stable

Elizabeth: Thank you – Thank you I am so grateful you changed your mind

Priest: Yes now quickly Elizabeth Mark will take you as far as the next town – then I am sorry you are on your own..

Elizabeth: Goodbye

Elliot Family household and Johnstone Family household different sides of the stage

Late at night

One of Elliot’s men/ Soldiers runs on, Elliot is sitting with Malcolm and Edward.

Solider: Sir, Mr Elliot I have an urgent message..

Mr Elliott: What is it ?

Solider: The spy you have in the Johnstone household has informed us that Elizabeth has snuck out of the house.. she ran off sir, gone on horseback heading north  ..

Edward: What?! How the Hell

Malcolm: Should we go after her? Get her back?

Mr Elliot: No, no lets not waste our time on a girl. Solider go gather the men together – its time to take what we are owed.. Malcolm, Edward go get ready for a night raid.

Johnstone household

Mrs Johnstone: Wake up .. wake up !! I heard a noise.. I think someone is outside..

Mr Johnstone: Give me the light, .. (moves to the window/door) Who is there? I am armed! You are messing with the wrong family!  ..  it’s Elliots men ! Wife raise the alarm get wake the men .. I knew I couldn’t trust that weasel

Mrs Johnstone rings the bell and shouts for her staff

Finale men are lined up on either side of the stage there is atmospheric music and noise

No specific lines just shouting and threats then the fight..

Fight sequence as rehearsed.

Finale is frozen image of the fight then black out.