• Essence Productions

How A 'Witch' Came To Werribee

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

It was nine years ago, when we started working on the ‘Down to Earth' show at Werribee Park historic farm.  As usual, when researching, I threw the net out and read copious amount of history to select where the story’s focus would be and what pieces were relevant for the story. 

The one thing I always think would have been a really difficult task ‘back in the old days’ is travelling in the dark.  No street lamps, torches - just moonlight. As we can image, many unexplained deaths occurred.  Children could and would often suddenly die, not just through accidents but whilst sleeping. Evil creatures were often given as the causes of these deaths so I started researching mythological creatures that were around Europe at the time.  Black Annis came up - an evil hag whose particular victims were children.  She became the monster terrifying the farm in 'Down to Earth'. 

You may notice that in the play she is referred to as Black Anny, her lesser used title.  Well that’s because in the very early days of development I heard a friend describe ‘Black Annis’ in a strong Australian accent. It came out as ‘Black Anis’.  Everyone laughed, Oh dear, we won’t be having that, I thought. So Black Anny it was.

Read more about the folklore of Black Annis here.

If you haven't seen 'Down to Earth' but would love to discover the spooky story of Black Anny and the Werribee Park Farm, you can get your tickets here.