Dunstable play tells story of last woman hanged in Britain

The play is being staged by Dunstable Rep
The play is being staged by Dunstable Rep

The last woman to be hanged in Britain is the subject of a drama taking to the stage in Dunstable this month.

Amanda Whittington’s play The Thrill of Love dramatises the true story of Ruth Ellis - and takes a fresh look at the woman behind the headlines.

A divorcee with a young child to care for, Ruth works in the kind of nightclubs where there’s more than just a drink on offer. The girls work hard, play hard and dream of a movie star life.

Then she meets the wealthy, womanising David, a racing driver with whom she becomes obsessed. Fame comes - but not in the way she imagines.

The hanging was the cause of great public interest. On the morning of Wednesday, July 18, 1955, a crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered outside Holloway prison. Inside the prison preparations were being made for Ruth Ellis to be hanged. Many called for her reprieve, others prayed for her soul. As the clock struck 9am, the appointed time for the execution, they fell silent.

The play examines why their relationship ended in murder, why she pleaded not guilty but offered no defence, why she showed no remorse and who she was trying to protect.

The Thrill of Love will be performed by Dunstable Rep at The Little Theatre from November 16 to 24. Call 01582 204021 to book.