Choir of ‘angels’ or sinners? New play spotlights women’s fight for church recognition

A NEW play telling the story of the women who became the first to sing in a church choir alongside men is to be premiered in Saddleworth.

Written by Greenfield-based Carol Davies and Livi Michael, Singers not Sinners transports the audience back to Oldham in 1701.

Elias Hall, described as an itinerant psalmody teacher, is also the choir master at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Oldham.

Millgate Arts Centre Delph

He has disbanded his discordant choir and but needs to urgently replace the singers in time for the Easter service. His quest brings him in contact with angelic voices from across the parish.

Unfortunately for Elias, the voices belong to women, and women are banned from singing in church.

Elias’ determination brings him into conflict with key figures in the parish as he and his new choir risk everything to change the course of history and have women, for the first time, raise their voices in song during church services.

“We are not beasts, to be stricken dumb,” they say. “We are singers, not sinners who can lift up our voices to God.”

• Singers not Sinners performed by Saddleworth Players premieres at Millgate Arts Centre, Delph on June 2-9 plus June 11, 2022. Tickets can be obtained via

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