One spring evening in 2017 Hereford’s famous map of the world, the Mappa Mundi, came to life. Characters, animals and mythical creatures ventured out of their medieval world and onto the streets of Hereford. They met with us all, walked and danced down to the river and marvelled at the extraordinary sights they saw. As darkness fell on the River Wye, they boarded one of the spectacularly lit floats and sailed away on an adventure to discover the world.
This year they are back. They are here to tell us about their adventures, and to share with us the extraordinary things they have seen and experienced on their journey around the world.
Our celebration tonight weaves together the old and the new – drawing on local folk tradition that stretches back through time to the beginning of the Mappa Mundi, and bringing us right up to date with the increasingly global culture of contemporary Herefordshire.
We will begin our celebration at 8:30pm on Friday May 4th, outside the North Door of Hereford Cathedral.
Leominster Morris will perform a Mummers Play just like one that would have been performed outside the Cathedral in the 13th century when the Mappa Mundi was created. Mappa Mundi Creatures (played by young actors from the Courtyard Youth Theatre) will be there watching with us. They will sing and join the Mappa Band in accompanying the young dancers from DanceFest who will perform a dance portraying the beauty of the natural world, and celebrating the return of spring.
Blodeuwedd, the Spirit of the Wye, together with Dan the Scribe, who wrote all the detailed inscriptions on our Map, will also be there to tell us the story of how they travelled round the world. They will tell us what the creatures saw and how they marvelled at our technological achievements but also shuddered at our destructive capabilities! Youngsters from DanceFest will dance once again to portray this technological world in its many guises, before Blodeuwedd calls us all to follow the colourful Mappa Band down to the river to watch the spectacular lantern lit procession float down the Wye.
As darkness falls and we walk towards the Old Bridge, we will be joined by more musical bands, representing the global and local community, who will bring music from around the world to the streets of Hereford. The river bank will resonate with inspiring music composed by the Mappa Band, with West African and Congolese rhythms, and with Syrian melodies as the spectacularly lit floats come down the river, representing The World on the Wye: one global, diverse, colourful and harmonious community.
And when the floats disappear into the night, we can all stay to continue our celebrations on the Bishops Meadow with a Mappa Mundi Global Jam (10:30m – 11:30pm). There will be food and drink stalls, and music for all, as we share in Hereford’s big, closely knit, vibrant and diverse community: The World on the Wye.
Our Cast for 2018 (in order of appearance):
Mummers from Leominster Morris
Mappa Mundi Creatures: Mandrake, Cicone, Wolf, Bear and Lynx, designed and created by Anne Belgrave. Music composed & performed by Olivia Preye Bradbury, Jessica Watkins, Helena Watt, Sarah Hoyle, and Luke Singer
The Mappa Band: a ramshackle collection of time-travelling troubadours, with music composed & performed by Kate Gathercole, Mark Waters, Lu Mason, Robin Scott-Wilson, Nicholas Acons, Toby Scott-Wilson, Jonny James, Bertie Playle and Simon Hamilton.
Dancefest led by Charlotte Hale, Dance Development Leader.
Elevate Junior Company, dancing to our May Song: Evi Hudson, Daisy Irwin, Martha Rees, Thea Williams
Elevate Youth Company, dancing to The 4th Second: Pippa Dempsey, Emma Harfoot, Chloe Portman, Emma Robinson, Rosie Sayer, Eve Straker, Jess Wells
Blodeuwedd, sprit of the Wye: Olga Kekis
Dan, the scribe: Dan Pegler
Creatures from the Mappa Mundi: Actors from the Courtyard Youth Theatre
Performers: The Leominster Morris, Black Crows Hereford Vikings, Hereford Drift Trikes
Riverside Musicians: Servo & the Kanda Art; The Alsaher Brothers (Issa, Hossam & Yildiz Darfour); Landing Mane and Benjamin Salmon of Jamo Jamo Arts
Additional performances at the Bishops Meadow After-Party with: Drummingo & the Kanda Art, The Alsaher Brothers, Landing Mane & Benjamin Salmon (Jamo Jamo Arts) plus Leominster Morris, Olivia Preye Bradbury & the Mappa Mundi Creatures, & the Mappa Band members.
Floats, Lanterns and Costumes, designed and created by: Rebecca Huggett, Rozie Keogh, Lilly Smith, Lucy Baxendale, Kayley Herbert, Rosie Clarke
Fire garden: Paul Batten of Theatrix Arts, Andy Firkin, Ben Hughes, Andrew Wood
Rover Floats on the Wye, led by Tricia Hales: Carol Hall, Rebecca Brook, Edward Hales, Billy Hales, Chris Hales, Dane Phillips, Ken Ellsum, Geoff Waters, Vince Waters, Roy Smith, Sarah Robertson, Nick Wood, Vick Gamage, Nick James-Williams, Keith Kinsey, Jason Cale, Bob Higham, Rob Shiels, Lily Hall
Filming and creative capture: Media SHYPP
Programme illustration: Lucy Baxendale
Programme design: Chris Townsend at ABC Print
Event Manager: Leo Caithness
Production Team: Laura Hartman, Kieran Doswell, Agnes Mills, Toni Cook & team
Artistic Director: Rebecca Huggett
Theatrical Director: Olga Kekis