A LOCAL history enthusiast and former Keighley Festival chairman says his musical based on the story of the Lancashire Witch Trials is a step closer to fruition.

Malcolm Hanson has now completed the first draft of the two act 11 scene play, which is called "1612".

He has also signed up a raft of musicians to work with himself and the engineer of Hideaway Studios, Andy Wells, who is helping to produce much of the musical work.

The 1612 music ensemble will consist of Lavinia AC, Mabel Blue and Dave Malt (singers), Steve Watts (keyboards), Andy (keyboards and guitars) and Malcolm on keyboards, guitars and vocals. More musicians will be added as the work progresses.

Malcolm explained: “The ensemble will act as a studio band, re-recording many of the tracks that Andy and I have laid down.

"The idea does seem somewhat strange in that everything for this musical will be recorded several times, with the exception of “Gloria nam et Damnatus Innocens”, which is a purely symphonic work.

“It is the same concept with the play. The first draft, though completed, will need several more re-workings before it reaches an acceptable standard. Then I have to transpose lines into lyrics and write the music for that.”

Malcolm added that he hopes to have much of the music finished by the summer, after which he wants to take the ensemble on tour to gauge reaction from prospective audiences.

“If possible we will premier the work in Pendle, where the story is set," he said. "If it goes well then I expect to premier the actual musical at theatres around mid 2017.”

The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most infamous witch trials in English history.

The 12 accused lived around Pendle Hill, and were charged with using witchcraft to kill ten people.

Of 11 people who went to trial ten were found guilty and executed by hanging.