Catholic recusants in performance

Apart from transforming doctrine and worship, the Reformation also influenced broader religious practices and attitudes towards traditional festivity. During Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, the celebrations of particular feast days and parish fund-raising entertainments, such as May games and Robin Hood plays, experienced decline and severe intolerance voiced by the Puritan-minded clergymen. Traditional festive customs were perceived as characteristic of the idolatrous late medieval religion.

Gasper Jakovac discusses some North-Eastern instances of Catholic participation in contentious customs and recreations and how they could have articulated identity and social reality of a persecuted minority. When Catholic recusants performed as players, dancers, or musicians, their entertainments could have easily been perceived by the authorities as an attack on the established religion.