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Kirkby Village

Introducing our brand new 14-15th Century Village;

Kirbky!

kirkby

kirkby

 

For the 2016 Abbey Medieval Festival, in coordination with our amazing 14th and 15th Century re-enactment groups, we have embarked on a completely new concept – The Village of Kirkby. Now, instead of viewing the encampments from the outside, you are invited to enter the Village and become immersed in the 14th and 15th Centuries.

Kirkby Village is arranged so that you can walk backwards through time, seeing and experiencing how life changed over this period starting at the tail end of the 15th Century, with the groups Re-enacting Independently For Fun and Das Torichte Leben, and ending in the 14th Century, with the groups Draco Routiers and Knights of the Longdog.

While in the Kirkby Marketplace, at the south end of the village, you might like to peruse the fine array of goods for sale. Later, you could learn more about medieval cooking by watching a Medieval Kitchen at work on the west side of the village. See the re-enactors rest between battles in their Banquet Hall, and in the north end of the village, you can watch fighters train in the Kirkby List, or listen to some music from the group ‘Wayward’.

When it’s time to leave the Village and continue exploring all that the Festival has to offer, why not head out the Westgate and treat yourself to the delights of the Middle Eastern Quarter, with its dancers, drummers and oil wrestlers? Or perhaps you could take in a lecture at the University Pavilion, visit the encampments of Knights’ Order of Lion Rampant, Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia or multi-period group Ex Libris.

Go north, and you will find yourself at the Joust Arena, or why not visit The Commons to watch a performance? The East Gate will lead you towards the Castle List and the mysteries of The Crusader Quarter.

Performances, shows, displays and workshops in Kirby Village include:

Company of the Phoenix 

kirkbyCompany Draco Routiers

kirbky

Company of the Radiant Heart 

kirkby

Das Torichte Leben

kirkby

Knights of the Longdog

kirkby

Reenacting Independently For Fun

kirkby

St James Road

kirkby

Company of the Dove

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as well as Scions of Mars and the music group ‘Wayward’.

Make sure you stop in and say hi, and explore everything that Kirkby has to offer!

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New England Medieval Arts Society

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

NEW ENGLAND MEDIEVAL ARTS SOCIETY

(NEMAS)

new
The New England Medieval Arts Society celebrates an amazing Thirty Years of Existence this year!

To celebrate, NEMAS partied hard at the Armidale Pine Forest with The Easter Gathering 2016. Folk travel from far afield as Perth, New Zealand Melbourne and Townsville and everywhere in between to what became the largest Re-enactment camp out in the Southern Hemisphere.
The NEMAS group continued to spread their love and passion for historical fun at The Glen Innes Standing Stones Celtic Festival where their encampment was interactive and as the combat demonstrations were lively and most humorous, winning acclaim.
NEMAS loves to travel further afield and has just recently supported another fantastic re-enactment group, Rognvalds Lith, with their Viking Village Solstice in Lismore.

This year, NEMAS invite all to come and catch up with them at The Abbey Medieval Festival as they present their take on an Anglo Saxon Encampment, somewhere near the Dane Law in Wessex.

nemas

Come and see New England Medieval Arts Society at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year!

Still more reenactor groups to come! 

 

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The Lute

The Lute;

What is it, and where does it come from?

 

The lute is a pear shaped, stringed instrument, originating some time during the Renaissance Era where it was known as the instrument of Kings and Queens. The symbol of magic and the power of music, the lute could be heard in the theatre in the music of Shakespeare’s plays, and was also popular amongst common people, playing the popular tunes of the day in pubs and on street corners.

Coming to Europe in the Middle Ages, the lute, which then had only five ‘courses’ or pairs of strings, was played with a quill plectrum, very similar to the Arabic ‘ud, from which is derives it name and distinctive shape.

It wasn’t until the late 15th century that the lute really came into its own, when it was realised that it could be played with finger instead of the quill. With the addition of a sixth course, and the slight changes to its shape making its body more elongated, the lute attained a more elegant status, setting itself up for over 150 years of musical acknowledgement.

By the end of the seventeenth century though, the lutes popularity had decreased. The quiet and sultry lute simple could not complete with the rise of the orchestra and opera.

lute

Here at the Abbey Museum we are very lucky to have a special lady who loves to come and play her beautiful lutes for the entertainment of our visitors and guests. Gillian Nicholson will once again be playing her lutes in the Museum during the Festival Weekend, so if you would like some quiet time out from the hustle and bustle that is the Medieval Festival, be sure to come and visit Gillian in the Museum to be swept away by her ravishing tones and beautiful music.

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The Pageant Wagon

What is the Pageant Wagon?

 Some history regarding Medieval Theatre.

wagon

The European Renaissance holds the title of being one of the great ages of theatre. Patronage of acting troupes, the establishment of permanent theatres and playwrights such as Shakespeare and Marlowe, provide solid evidence to support this statement. While this era of theatre is still studied and adored today, it is important to acknowledge that an artistic revolution like the Renaissance is indebted to its predecessor – Medieval Theatre.

By today’s standards, the subject of many plays that make up medieval theatre wouldn’t be considered as exciting as those of the Renaissance, but its history is no less impressive. With its humble beginnings of Catholic priests performing biblical events during mass, it led into the Renaissance with troupes of actors performing on one of the great tools of medieval theatre, the Pageant Wagon.

wagon

A procession of wagons would arrive in town, each performing a scene of a cycle play; the audience would either remain stationary as the wagons passed by, or the wagons would be set up in an open area allowing the public to move from play to play. It was a wonderfully inventive way to allow just about the whole community a chance to see a performance.

Unfortunately, modern day occupational health and safety standards make it a little tricky to have a pageant wagon; however 2015 saw the debut of a new venue at Abbeystowe – the Pageant Wagon – the Abbey Medieval Festival’s little homage to staging for medieval theatre. Last year the Abbey Medieval House Troupe tested the waters a little by performing Shakespeare and a variety of children’s stories on our new stage. Conveniently situated near the Market Place, the Pageant Wagon stage will be in full swing in 2016 with a full program of theatre, costume and music.

A guaranteed favourite at the Pageant Wagon stage will be the children’s story telling. Developed and performed by the Abbey Medieval House Troupe, the story telling will take place from 12-1pm, and again 3.30-4pm both Saturday and Sunday at the Festival. Performed ‘players theatre’ style, the stories are told by a narrator with sections acted out by performers.

wagon

Stories for 2016 are will include:

St George and the Dragon

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow

King Arthur and the Sword and the Stone.

Come and sit by the Pageant Wagon stage – the perfect opportunity for families to have lunch while being entertained! Cheer for the good guys and boo at the baddies!

Buy your tickets now to see the Pageant Wagon come to life! 
If anyone would like to fund the construction of a functioning pageant wagon that meets modern day OH&S standards, please contact our House Troupe Coordinator, you will quickly become her favourite person. Ever.
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Celebrating Shakespeare

‘Eaten me out of house and home’

‘Forever and a day’

‘Good riddance’

‘Wear my heart upon my sleeve’

We’ve all heard one or all of these saying before. But did you know where they came from? Who was the first person to say or write them?

These are just some of the common phrases made popular by the great playwright and wordsmith William Shakespeare!

Ever eat a meal so delicious that the only was the describe it was to say it was “a dish fit for the gods!”

Shakespeare did.

Did your parents ever get so exasperated at your siblings (not you, of course) you hear them say “for goodness sake!”

Yep, that came from Shakespeare.

Every knows a good “Knock Knock, who’s there” joke!

That phrase came from Shakespeare too!

Going on a “wild goose chase”!

Yep, you guessed it. Shakespeare.

 

Mind Blown.

shakespeare

 

Celebrating Shakespeare with the Abbey Medieval House Troupe!

23rd April 2016 marked the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and while the Bard may be ‘dead as a doornail’ (another one, thanks William!), his contributions to literature, theatre and the English language are immense and still celebrated today.

To mark this anniversary, the volunteers of Abbey Medieval House Troupe have been hard at work over the past few months developing and rehearsing a tribute to Shakespeare. Sorting through his plays to find a mere sample of gems to perform has proved to be an endeavour not for the ‘faint hearted’ (they just keep coming!). However the Troupe have managed to narrow it down to a select few including, but not limited to Macbeth, King Lear, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and of course, Romeo and Juliet.

We cannot ignore the line we are dancing on with historical accuracy here, the Abbey Medieval Festival celebrates the Middle Ages, specifically Europe and the Middle East from 600 – 1600AD, thankfully for us we just touch on the English renaissance, and ‘as good luck would have it’ many of Shakespeare’s works are believed to have been penned in the late 1500s.

Come and see the House Troupe’s tribute this year!

Join the House Troupe to be a part of amazing shows like this, and many others!

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