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bringing together environmentalism and performance
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the Lions part

   
the lions part

www.thelionspart.co.uk
info@thelionspart.co.uk
London
England

Please contact Sonia Ritter

Vision  
The Lions part was formed by a group of professional actors who met doing First Folio work with the Original Shakespeare Company.

The core members include performers and a musician, and several of the group write, produce and direct as well as perform. Our experience as individual actors spans every kind of theatre, including the major stages and companies.

Twice a year we perform on the Bankside, London in our free theatre-based seasonal festivals, October Plenty and Twelfth Night, which celebrate the seasons with games, old customs, music, dance and the Green Man in his various guises, with performances of early plays such as The Marriage Between Wit and Wisdom, Gammer Gurton's Needle, translations of Hans Sachs' Nonsense-night plays and new adaptations of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

 
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Productions and Projects

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The Land
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2006
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The Land, the epic poem by Vita Sackville-West, is adapted and performed by Sonia Ritter and Tim Laycock with new and traditional music and natural sound.

‘The country habit has me by the heart…’

The power of The Land lies in its celebration of rural England and particularly the Weald of Kent where Sackville-West lived. The poet is the narrator and protagonist, an intimate lover of the soil who shares the cycle of the farmer’s year without sentimentality. She follows the seasons with those who work the soil, revelling and wrestling with the seasonal forces of the natural world and their astonishing beauty.

The conflict and collaboration between humankind and the Earth that lies at the heart of Sackville-West's narrative is as relevant today as it was in 1926.

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lions part - the land
The Land

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October Plenty
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2003 - 2006
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October Plenty is an Autumn harvest celebration of seasons, weather and food, held annually, free to the public, in Southwark. Beginning on the Bankside, by Shakespeare's Globe, October Plenty mixes ancient seasonal customs and theatre with contemporary festivity.

lions part berry man
October Plenty, Berry Man
The October Plenty programme:

The Corn Queene
A huge Corn Queene effigy, heavy with wheat, barley, apples, root vegetables and foliage processes around the front of the Globe, Bankside, led by the Berry Man with the Company of actors and the Hobby Horse. The Berry Man, our autumn incarnation of the Green Man, carries an Apple Tree.

The Procession
We move through the streets to the Borough Market to savour soul cakes, conker fights, cider from the New Forest, apple bobbing, a great beer selection, the market stalls and more dancing.

The Play
The company performs a play from the 16th or 17th Century. Then, apples cascade out into the crowd as the Corn Queene is opened up at the end of the play and this is followed by the celebrated Execution of John Barleycorn.

The Story Orchard
A glade of young, English apple trees creates a space for children to gather. There they can re-clothe the trees with green wishes (paper apples) and listen to stories about apples, markets, harvest time and London sparrows.

There is a tasting table of old apple types from London by Brogdale Horticultural Trust with decorations created at Roots and Shoots, the Lambeth community gardens environment project where the Corn Queene is created.

Photographs are provided by the Lions part.

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lions part procession
October Plenty

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May Games, Bringing in the May
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1999
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... ther was a May-game ... with a gyant, and drumes ... with spechys, and a goodly pageant with a qoen ... and dyvers odur, with spechys: and then Sant George and the dragon ... (diarist Henry Machyn, 1554)

The plays, customs and folklore that make up Bringing in the May are all rooted in time-honoured Maytime festivities. The welcoming of Spring, the joy at the return of 'the green', these activities go far back in history, and we are reviving them for the same reasons of celebration: to welcome the returning splendour of the sun. The late 20th century is struggling to sustain a sense of the natural world within its urban enclaves. The re-introduction of celebrations of the seasons on the urban streets where they were enjoyed before, is a way to connect again with nature.

lions part may tug
Bringing in the May
Robin Hood is our protagonist. He leads the 'dance' of the May Games in combat-and-reconciliation plays, with the wild folk figure of the Jack-in-the-Green garland. Other traditional characters are the Lady of May (Mary, Magdelene, Maid Marian), the Dragon (ours is a Thames Dragon), the Hobby Horse, the Maypole and the much-loved followers of Robin Hood. The plays we perform are texts based on extant material from the 1470's.

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lions part may dragon
Bringing in the May

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More About  
Transformations
Sensations of the weather, natural growth, cradle-to-grave processes are often forgotten or lost in the city. The physicalisation and symbolisation of these sensations are the feelings of "being alive" are what we try to create: "joie de vivre!" Love of living is hopefully physicalised through walking together, dancing, laughing, thinking and eating, drinking together in a common experience.

New Writing
We work from original facsimiles of old texts, using some editing to serve the purpose of the events. Some elements are devised to be added to the activities of the celebration: songs, dancing, additional rhymes, contemporary references, other texts of equal age or appropriate material.

  the Lions part
www.thelionspart.co.uk
info@thelionspart.co.uk

19 Clifton Crescent
London
SE15 2RX
England

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