Brixham, United Kingdom (PressExposure) October 20, 2012 -- The South Devon Players bring to life their most ambitious project yet. This award-winning non-profit community theatre company from Brixham primarily specialise in bringing to life the history and legends of the county of Devon, in newly researched and written shows.
With a cast of 15, including actors, "medieval" musicians, dancers and gymnasts, many playing more than one role, they bring to life the Christmas of 1285, in a local lords hall.
What was special for Devon in 1285?
Previously, in November 1283, a dispute at Exeter Cathedral had come to a head and resulted in the murder of the Cathedrals precentor, Walter Lechlade (previously the Vicar Choral at Wells Cathedral). For some time a dispute had raged as to who should become Dean of the cathedral, with John Pycot wishing to be elected, while the Bishop, Peter Quinil, was reluctant.
Finally Pycot convinced the cathedrals chapter to elect him as Dean, while the bishop was away. The Bishop, however, on his return, refused to recognise the election of John Pycot, and instead put Walter Lechlade in the position of precentor, and the head of the cathedral's chapter, thus effectively rendering Pycot's position irrelevant.
In 1283, Pycot and other conspirators, including the mayor of Exeter, Alured De Porta arranged the murder of Walter Lechlade.
While the Bishop and his supporters certainly had their suspicions as to the culprits, they were blocked in meaningful investigations, and in the end, as the Vatican began asking questions, the Bishop appealed to King Edward I to come to Exeter.
King Edward I spent the Christmas of 1285 in Exeter at Rougemont castle, and his intervention was not without result; on Boxing Day, the city mayor and several other men were hanged at Heavitree for their part in the conspiracy.
The theatre show takes this historical incident as a core storyline, with flashbacks to scenes of the conspirators, and then telling the story of King Edward visiting a local lord who was rumoured (incorrectly) to be implicated in the plot. The show is set in the lords hall while he is holding a Christmas/ Midwinter celebration. Thus, this groundbreaking medieval show is filled with traditional medieval entertainment including mumming, carols, dance, gymnasts, and live harp and flute music, as well as a full scale play. The audience are seated as if in the hall as guests, thus adding to the flavour of a medieval "experience".
In further news, part of the script, one of the mummers plays, written by the theatre company secretary Laura J, telling the legend of St Boniface (a Devon saint from Crediton) and how he is linked to the origin of the Christmas Tree, has been accepted as a short play, by a national script agent.
Tickets £5 adult, or £3.50 (under 16/ proof of means-tested benefits)
Paignton performance - Friday January 11th 2013 - 7.30pm - at the Baptist Church, Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BH
Brixham performance - Saturday January 12th 2013 - 3pm and 7.30pm - at the Christian Community Centre, Fore Street (town centre) Brixham TQ5 8DS