May Games family festival to take place in Stortford for fifth year running
A family festival which recreates the historic honouring of the changing of the seasons will be played out in Bishop's Stortford for the fifth year running next weekend.
Contexture Theatre, the professional theatre company founded in Stortford by husband and wife Simon and Gailie Anderson, is staging May Games on Sunday May 19.
The popular event, which is now a much-anticipated feature of the town's calendar, is a re-creation of the seasonal celebration that took place for hundreds of years.
It was a chance for local workers to let their hair down after a long hard winter and welcome the green shoots of spring. Accordingly, the festival is woven around the mythology of Robin Hood and the Green Man.
The day will include traditional street theatre, live music, home-made food and local drinks, maypole dancing, storytelling, traditional craft activities for the whole family and the May Games themselves – a series of time-honoured sporting events ending with the tug of war.
"It's a terrific day and we're very proud that the Bishop's Stortford community have taken this revived tradition to their heart," say Contexture directors and husband and wife Simon and Gailie Anderson.
"May Games is incredibly important to us and something we wanted to do ever since we moved to Stortford. We used to do a similar thing when we lived in London.
"We live in a world that doesn't notice the changing of the seasons any more and it's important that we reconnect with both them and the history of our town.
"It's also wonderful to have a day where families can come together and enjoy themselves without video games or electronics.
"Come along, bring a garden chair or picnic blanket and spend a fun and relaxed afternoon with us at May Games."
The festival takes place mainly in Monastery Gardens in Windhill, which are accessed through the car park beside the town council offices or from St Michael's churchyard.
The itinerary for the day is:
12pm – Gathering at the Castle Gardens splash pool for a series of dances, followed by a procession through town
12.30pm – Performance of the first instalment of the Saga of Robin Hood in Market Square
12.45pm – Festivities start in Monastery Gardens with a performance of the second instalment of the saga.
Activities and entertainment continue in Monastery Gardens until 6pm.
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More by this authorPaul Winspear