North East Dramatic Traditions

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.

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.

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Did you know that a man-eating dragon once visited Durham City? Or that the oldest work of drama in Britain may have been written in the North East? Or that Lord Neville of Raby claimed the right to enter Durham cathedral once a year and make an offering of a recently killed stag on the altar in Durham Cathedral?

The North East region is rich in a history of now forgotten folk traditions, performances, plays and rituals. Many of these are being rediscovered by the Records of Early English Drama North East team, as they comb archives looking for clues about historical performances and drama.

Our exhibition on Festive Traditions in the North East ran in Durham Cathedral from 19th April to 22nd May 2016, and showcased some of the findings. Although the exhibition is now over, you can still read about the background to the exhibition, listen to podcasts exploring some of the North East’s forgotten customs, and find our Top Ten North East traditions you may never have heard of.