The Paint Man

Elford's Cave

The Paint Man (1991) was written and directed by Mark Beeson. The play was set in 1655 and followed the life of John Elford who lost sympathy with the Puritans under the military dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell. When he was implicated in a revolt and attempts were made to arrest him, Elford used to hide in a cave on Sheepstor and entertained himself with activities such as painting and the visual arts in general (something banned under the Puritans). Many country people held superstitions about Elford’s ‘hole’. An extract from this play was performed at the Devon County Show in 1990. A revised and enlarged version of this play, without the animal characters, appeared under the title Refuge in 2017, directed by Lucy Hirst. The mask was made by Clare Tyler and the backdrop was painted by Olivia Young.