Dramatic Traditions

This online exhibition brings together original documents found in libraries and archives in Durham, Northumberland and Yorkshire to share the evidence for plays, music and festive customs in the North East in the later medieval and early modern periods – up until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642. In that year the London theatres were ordered to be closed, and many old traditions were cut off, not to be reinstated until the restoration of King Charles II in 1660.

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This is an online version of an exhibition that was originally hosted by Durham Cathedral from 19 April – 22 May 2016, entitled Plays, Processions and Parchment: Dramatic Traditions in the North East of England. You can find out more about the background to the exhibition in this interview with one of the curators, Diana Wyatt.

We gratefully acknowledge the help, support and advice of all those who helped make both the original and online exhibition possible: Durham Cathedral, Durham Cathedral Library, Durham University, Sheila Hingley, Julie Biddlecombe-Brown, Simon James, Sarah Price, The Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Durham World Heritage Site, Durham Light Infantry Museum, Durham Medieval Theatre Company, Elisabeth Dutton, Peter Gaber, The World Through Wooden Eyes, Richard Rastall.

A medieval devil costume, as featured in the exhibition Plays, Processions and Parchment: Festive Traditions in the North East, held in Durham Cathedral April-May 2016. Photo credit: Jamie Beckett.