The cast of the Pageant Preview directed by John Bailey

Axbridge Pageant is the only pageant left in England – and is set to take place in August 2022. On Saturday 7th August a small troop of actors from the town will take part in an event in London to celebrate pageants. Historical Pageants Day is at Cecil Sharp House in London. Details at It’s free so go along if you can.

Historical pageants were a widespread form of popular entertainment in early twentieth-century Britain.

Presenting large-scale theatrical re-creations of scenes from local and national history, they brought the past to life as never before. Thousands of people performed in these vivid extravaganzas of music, dance and drama, and tens of thousands more watched them. Yet pageants are largely forgotten today.

Following our recent exhibition Pageant Fever! Historical Pageants and the British past, we are pleased to present a day of talks, exhibitions and performances of historical pageantry from local history organisations, museums, theatre groups, musicians and dancers. This will be followed by a separate evening event featuring exciting scenes, music and dance from selected pageants, some of which have not been staged for many decades.

The day includes:

  • Talks on pageants from the Redress of the Past team, including Dr Angela Bartie, Dr Mark Freeman and Professor Paul Readman, along with local historians, curators and archivists from across the UK 
  • Archive film screenings of historical pageants with commentary by Dr Tom Hulme
  • Displays and stalls, including highlights from the recent Pageant Fever exhibition at Cecil Sharp House, which can be viewed throughout the day