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The Sacred and the Profane

This massive and diverse show celebrated the dramatic traditions of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with special elements coming from England’s North-East.

Among other things it presented scenes from a Renaissance court, a Dance of Death, and a torchlit procession of the traditional Boy Bishops of Durham. There was also a specially designed stage dragon, inspired by the North East’s legends of worms and dragons. For the hundreds of viewers, the show reproduced the kind of traditions that Durham’s citizens might have experienced centuries ago.

Go behind the scenes and discover how we developed period costumes, and what happened when we pulled together the talents of university students, professionals and the local public to rehearse and learn all about historical dance in the process.

Then relive the show itself, which took place at dusk on Palace Green on 10th July 2016, and soak up the atmosphere as the modern audience mingled with historical performers – and a dangerous dragon.

Costume development



After show

Making the mask for one of the skeletons Demonstrating the volta Photo credit: Michael Baker Photo credit: Michael Baker