Join the Search for Truth across the spectacular landscape of the Malvern Hills. Over one weekend in July 2017 a host of poets, artists, performers and musicians will reimagine the great medieval poem Piers Plowman in venues across the beautiful market town of Ledbury, starting with an unmissable outdoor site-specific performance in the Malvern Hills.
Friday 30 June & Saturday 1 July 2017
Book online at Ledbury Poetry Festival or call 01531 636232.
Friday night is free but ticketed; Saturday shows are £6 each or £20 for all four.
* All events feature live music by The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, audio work by Ross Sutherland and are performed by a company of actors.
Friday 30 June: Will’s Vision
Malvern Hills, secret location | 8-10pm
Ac on a May mornyng on Malverne hulles
Me biful for to slepe, for werynesse of-walked.
Follow in the footsteps of medieval poet William Langland in Fair Field’s unmissable opening. Staged in the Malvern Hills at dusk, this outdoor performance follows the dreamer, Will, as he walks into the Hills and begins an extraordinary journey through an unreal landscape. Langland’s “fair field full of folk” comes to life as a bustling vision of England, where the modern mingles with the medieval. Immerse yourself in a riot of colour, sound and speech as Will discovers a society in spiritual free-fall and embarks on a quest to find Truth.
Written by Tom Chivers & Steve Ely
Saturday 1 July: The Marriage of Lady Mede
St Michael & All Angels, Ledbury | 2-3pm
A womman as hit were wonderly yclothed…
On alle here fyve fyngeres ful richeliche yringed.
You are invited to the wedding of the year! With the country beset by economic crisis, join socialite and millionaire heiress Lady Mede as she ties the knot with False. But behind the glamour lurks Conscience and a surprise revelation that threatens to spoil the party… In this modern adaptation of one of the key scenes in Piers Plowman, playwright Annette Brook explores the use and abuse of money – from cash for questions to pay-day loans – and asks: Can money ever be good?
Written by Annette Brook
Saturday 1 July: The Confession of the Seven Sins
Barrett Browning Institute, Ledbury | 4-5pm
Thenne awakede Wrathe, with two whyte eyes
And with a nivilynge nose, nippynge his lippes.
Got something to confess? Follow the dreamer, Will, into the crumbling labyrinth of the Barrett Browning Institute (Ledbury’s former library) and discover an anarchic, medieval self-help group. The seven sins will all be there – from Gluttony, high on icing sugar, to Lechery, teller of the dirtiest tales. Map your own route through the Institute in this immersive, provocative and comic experience of the dark side of human nature.
Written & performed by Francesca Millican-Slater & Nick Field
Saturday 1 July: The Ploughing of the Half-Acre
Barrett Browning Institute, Ledbury | 8-9pm
Be seynt Petur of Rome!
Ich have an half-aker to erye by the heye way.
Will’s quest to find Truth has stalled, until a chance meeting with Piers the Plowman puts him on the right track. But can Piers recruit enough workers to plough his half-acre of land before Hunger strikes? Return to the soil in this dream-within-a-dream about labour, food and hunger. Breach Theatre combine a dramatic retelling from Piers Plowman with original film tracing the journey of modern food from field to fork.
Written & performed by Breach Theatre
Saturday 1 July: The Tower of Truth
St Katherine’s Hall, Ledbury | 9.30-10.30pm
Wollewaerd and watschoed wente Y forth aftur
As a recheles renk…
Destitute and seeking redemption, Will finds shelter in an empty hall. Will he ever find Truth or the answers he seeks? The outside world threatens to break in and he falls again into a dream, with the angry shouts of protestors combining with nightmarish visions of the underworld. Discover the Truth in this powerful crescendo of Will’s journey, staged in a medieval hall and modelled on the ancient Christian tradition of the Easter Vigil.
Written by Tom Chivers & Steve Ely
Ledbury Poetry Festival
The Malvern Hills
Secret location; will be confirmed with ticket-holders
St Michael and All Angels
Church Road, Ledbury HR8 1EB
High Street, Ledbury HR8 1DZ
Barrett Browning Institute
The Homend, Ledbury HR8 1BT