Refuge (2016)


It doesn’t take an expert historian to know that the English Civil War was a conflict that divided communities nationwide, and life on 17th Century Dartmoor was no exception. Village was set against village, family against family in one of the most bloodthirsty periods in English history. However, Dartmoor’s unique landscape, with all of its secret haunts, did prove to be an excellent hiding place…

Extracts from the play were also shown on BBC’s The One Show, click here to watch.

What's it about?

‘Refuge’ told the story of John Elford, a renegade parliamentarian who spoke out against Cromwell’s dictatorship. Forced into hiding, he is believed to have concealed himself in a cave on Sheepstor, now better known as the ‘Piskie’s Cave’. Meanwhile, local legend also tells of a Royalist soldier who once set up camp at Blackadon Tor near Lizwell Meet. MED Theatre’s 2016 community play examined the tensions between history and hearsay during this vivid period in Dartmoor’s past.


A hugely enjoyable play – well written and acted – which captured the times about which it was written brilliantly’
‘It brought previously unknown history to life far more effectively than a book!’
‘Clever use of historical material!’
‘It is excellent to have such high quality art in remotes villages such as this…’
‘Very well researched with lots of local history that I didn’t know about. Well rehearsed and produced to a high standard’
‘Wonderful – sensitive, informative fun and thought provoking
‘Informative, fun and full of action!’

‘The direction was brilliant. It took my breath away and held me from beginning to end… the interplay between the young ones was charming and the romance was enchanting’


‘Refuge’ toured to Manaton Parish hall, Belstone village hall, Meavy parish hall, and Moretonhampstead Parish Hall from 11th-19th March 2016.

A copy of the programme can be downloaded here.