Calling All Lumbering Devils and Renaissance Ladies: Volunteer for the ‘Souls of the North’ Show

Could you work a Wild Horse? Lumber like a hairy devil? Fight with sticks in a sword dance? Be a Renaissance lady? The research team that brought you Theatrum Mundi are seeking volunteers to perform in a new re-enactment of historic traditions of death, to take place on September 12th on Palace Green, Durham. 

Souls of the North presents festive forms which imagine or challenge death, and which celebrate the dead. This includes music from Scotland and England’s North (e.g. soul cake songs, the Lyke Wake Dirge); early dance; the Antrobus Soul Play (with a skull-headed ‘Wild Horse’, Beelzebub, King George, Mary, a Quack Doctor, a Black Knight, and other protagonists). We will perform this death-and-resurrection play alongside traditional poems and and ballads.

The production will be directed by Lieven Baert, a professional choreographer from Ghent. Participants will wear costumes. We plan a professional recording of the event.

What is expected from participants

  • a week’s regular rehearsals in the afternoon or evening (flexible times)
  • full availability from 1pm on Wednesday 12 September 2018
  • willingness to be recorded

Before Halloween: The Dead in the Festive Traditions of England’s North

The show Souls of the North belongs to a string of events which will take place in Durham and the wider region in autumn 2018. We will focus on popular traditions of commemorating the dead before the arrival of commercialized Halloween. For instance, until 1914 many villages in England’s Midlands and the North had their own bands of so-called Soul Cakers who went round in the period of 31 October (now known as Halloween) to 2 November (the Feast of All Souls). These Soul Cakers performed songs and short plays, and received specially baked ‘soul cakes’ for their efforts. Under the motto Before Halloween, we will put this, and other forms of cultural heritage, into practice, and we hope you might be interested!

If you wish to play a part or help with publicity or backstage work please respond by Friday 10 August to barbara.ravelhofer@durham.ac.uk. We all hope to hear from you!

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