New Podcast: Worms, Stags, and Other Folk Performances

Where do the North East’s tales of worms and dragons come from? Why did Lord Neville of Raby Castle want to bring a dead stag to Durham Cathedral each year? Find out all about some of the peculiar traditions of the North East region, in this podcast brought to you by the Records of Early English Drama North East project.

Folk performances and ceremonies make up one of the most interesting categories of early dramatic activity, although the low social status and illiteracy of most of their performers means that they are rarely recorded; however, late medieval records from the North-East are particularly rich in references to them. Some reflect popular legends and beliefs about dangerous animals, while others, such as bringing in the plough on the day after Epiphany or the competitive May games, mark particular turning points of the year.

In this podcast, recorded during an exhibition on Festive Traditions in the North-East held in Durham Cathedral in May 2016, Professor John McKinnell outlines some of the evidence for popular ceremonies and entertainments in the North-East and makes some suggestions of what they were really ‘about’.

The sorts of plays and drama featured in this podcast will be brought back to life as part of the free Theatrum Mundi festival taking place in the streets of Durham in July 2016. Come along to experience them for yourself. 
Theatrum Mundi, 7th to 12th July 2016


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