The Early Theatre in Worcester

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Theatre
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In medival times plays were a feature of all cathedral cities, and most certainly, Worcester would have seen many companies of players and mummers performing for the great number of pilgrims visiting the shrines of the two great saints, Oswald and Wulstan. The first record of players at Worcester Guilds had five pageant-plays performed on Corpus Christie Day and on the following Sunday, when the Guilds went in procession to do worship 'to God and Citie'.

In addition to the travelling groups of players, each parish seems to have had its own dramatic groups. The Diary of William Moore, Prior of Worcester, written about 1519, tells that for the entertainment of the Prior and his noble visitors at the Christmas festivities,'ye players of St.Mychell's, and the Guesten Hall. There is also an item of money given to the players of 'Seynt Petur's'. when the monks were feasting at their manor house at Battenhall. The favourite play was 'Robert Wode' (Robin Hood). There was however, a curious rule that such performances must be given only in the presence of the civic officials. It was also customary for the Cathedral schoolboys to act plays on high festival days, and there were those 'jogeleurs and children yt tumbled', and those that sang the latest news inlays and ballads