Originally in the medieval era, Catholic plays were performed by monks. However, slowly the shows were getting more and more controversial and unusual. This did not appeal to the pope in Italy. So he banned the monesteries from performing. The townsfolk were upset at the sudden ban on entertainment; they were inspired to do it themselves. Every religious festival or celebration one of the towns guilds would be given the task of presenting the show. It would be whatever guild could provide the props. For example, Noah's Ark would be performed by the Shipwrights because they could provide the boat or the Crucifixion would be performed by the carpenters because they could provide the crosses.
They enjoyed watching plays because it was the only form of entertainment. Snap the Dragon [n Norwich] was used in parades to portray the dragon that St. George killed.
The main surviving play is the Grocer's Guild show which was the Creation story from the Bible. It was re-written in the Victorian era, however and that is the only surviving copy today.
Jane Austen College is a secondary school and sixth form based in Norwich city centre.
Working with Year 7
Lead Teachers: Amy Coombe and Bonnie Sayer
The 2018 Schools Programme is supported by
Photographs by Gavin Bromley, Hollie Harrington and Peter Beck
The Norwich Medieval Mystery Plays Community Interest Company