The fighting Rev Gould scene was staged

Members of Axbridge Community Theatre performed a short preview play for the Axbridge Pageant in 2022 in Cecil Sharp House in London as part of the Historical Pageants Day on August 7th.

The production directed by John Bailey featured scenes from the Monmouth Rebellion, the Reverend Gould and Hannah More scene as well as the arrival of Cecil Sharp in the town.

The cast included Phil Saunders, Jo and Tony Wilson, Ede and John Bailey, Sarah Kendall, Harry Mottram, Sian Tutill and Chris Jarman who was the narrator. Tina Salvidge operated sound and lighting in the main hall of the house which had been the venue for an event celebrating pageantry.

The play was performed in the evening while during the day the exhibition Pageant Fever! Historical Pageants and the British past featured talks, exhibitions and performances of historical pageantry from local history organisations, museums, theatre groups, musicians and dancers. 

From left Phil Saunders, Sarah Kendall, Jo and Tony Wilson, Sian Tutill and Chris Jarman.

The performance was well received by the audience and the organisers Paul Readman of Kings College in London and Mark Freeman of UCSL described it as ‘outstanding.’

John Bailey said: “All the hard work was worth it. Was extremely well received. King’s College thought that it was a remarkable performance.”

Also on the evening bill was Somerset’s Amanda Boyd, known as Mrs Price’s Parlour who was accompanied by Trevor Bailey (no relation) and Daniel and Abi Shaw.

The Artistic Director of the Pageant John Bailey said: “We are cautiously optimistic that the 2022 Pageant will be able to take place as long as life looks to be returning to normal, by the end of this year. If it does then we will be ramping up preparations for ticket sales, casting, costuming, construction, promotion and fundraising.”

The final scene in 2010

The pageant is a two hour long history play based on the town’s past starting in Romano-Britain and ending in the 21st century with scenes that include a Saxon v Dane battle, the Lady Day Fair, the Monmouth Rebellion and the coming of the train and motor cars. It features a cast of hundreds with many roles behind the scenes including photographers, dressers, make-up artists, designers and marshals.

The pageant is set to take place at 3pm daily over the Bank Holiday weekend of Saturday-Monday from August 27-29, 2022.

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