History, theatre and true crime collide in the second season of DEADHOUSE.
Staged in the Crypt of St James’ Church, the 200-year-old sandstone structure designed by convict architect, Francis Greenway, DEADHOUSE revives two notorious cases:
Written by Gina Schien, A Poison Crown examines the case of Louisa Collins, a woman tried four times for poisoning two husbands.
Suspicion fell on Louisa after both husbands died a little over a year apart. When they were both exhumed from the Devonshire Street Cemetery and autopsied in the Sydney Morgue branch at Central, tiny traces of arsenic were found in both bodies. NSW Police arrested Louisa and charged her with two murders.
The Collins case captured the public imagination. Her death sentence sparked public satisfaction and outrage. A Poison Crown transports you to 19th-century Sydney and brings to life the characters who fought for and against Louisa’s appointment with the gallows on 8th January 1889.
In The Deadly Run, Liviu Monsted revisits the story of two convicts, two convicts, Kevin Simmonds and Les Newcombe, who in 1959 undertook an audacious escape from Sydney’s Long Bay Penitentiary, which led to the biggest police hunt in NSW history.
Escaping from the central section of the gaol through a ventilation duct in the roof of the prison chapel, they spent their first night of freedom huddled in a freshly dug grave in Botany Cemetery. Their deadly run eventually involved around 500 policemen as, over the ensuing weeks and months, the absconders sought to hide under the Sydney Showground grandstand, break into Emu Plains Prison Farm in order to steal a revolver, and hide in a car buried in the bush.