Merrie England by Edward German

Merrie England was performed at Broughton Castle from 4th to 6th August 2000. It was a joint production.

In October 2019 at a Terriffic Tuesday, Jenny Tustian and Gareth Jeremy presented a talk about “The Shared History of BCP and BOS“. This was illustrated with a video showing an edited extract from Merrie England which was performed at Broughton Castle in August 2000 to celebrate the new millennium and included different community groups from around Banbury.

See the video extract

The Oxford Mail provided this advance publicity which contains detailed information about the production.

Merrie England comes to castle

Years of hard work culminate in the Banbury Millennium festival this weekend. A pageant, entitled Merrie England, illuminates Broughton Castle – and marks the Queen Mother’s centenary.

The open-air show is staged in the castle courtyard, generously donated by the Lord and Lady Saye and Sele. A 250-strong cast is joined by hunting dogs, scuba divers and Sea Cadets.

The comic operetta, written by Edward German, is set in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Packed with intrigue, romance, witches and yeoman, it contains many well-known songs. For example Oh Peaceful England and Jerusalem.

Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday

“We decided four years ago to do this production. By sheer coincidence, the opening night is the 100th birthday of the Queen Mother,” explains assistant director Janet Bishop.

The Queen Mum’s banner and coronation song have been woven into the elaborate performance, which also includes an Elizabethan Fair on Saturday and Sunday. “There will be strolling magicians, mummers, Shakespearean actors, madrigal singers, falconry and a band,” she says, ” as well as picnic space and carnival rides.”

Director Andrew Wilson Jenner adds: “This has been an extensive project, involving at least 600 people and the Banbury Operatic Society, Banbury Symphony Orchestra, Banbury Cross Players, Banbury Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Banbury Cherwell and many other groups. Sponsors include Chiltern Railways, the National Lottery and the Cherwell District Council.

Any profits left – after paying the £60,000 production bill will go to a charity chosen by Lady Saye and Sele. “It’s essentially a Banbury production, so it should be a Banbury charity,” she reflects, “perhaps Horton General Hospital Children’s ward.”

Credits

Sir Walter Raleigh — Philip Bloomfield
Miss Bessie Throckmorton — Ann Sloan
Jill-All-Alone — Ruth Anker
Long Tom — Stuart Esworthy
Big Ben — Graham Nottingham
A Butcher — Chris Smith
A Baker — Richard Briggs
Earl of Essex — Gareth Jeremy
Queen Elizabeth — Margaret Stear
The May Queen — Miranda Walton
Walter Wilkins — Bruce Walton
Silas Simkins — Michael Seeley
A Tinker — Alan Martin
A Tailor — Maurice Smith
Lord — James Harper
The Queen’s Fool — Nik Lester
Lady-in-waiting — Jenny Tustian
Lords and Ladies — Maries Aston,Annette Boell, Marjorie Lawrence, Audrey Oliver, Gretta Scriven, Jeff Scriven, Andrea Venzi, Julie Wyatt, Nigel Yeadon
Vendors — Lilian Barton, Rosie Beckett, Adrian Hearn, Sue Henn, Linda Keen, Jennie Martin, Mavis Moon, George Moon, Sheila Pollard, Reith Rolph, Tricia Rolph, Kay Ruffle
Foresters — Eddie James, Barry Jones, Fred Riches
Landlady — Jean Bonner
Wenches — Maryl Cochrane, Glynnis Eastwood, Gill Gillet, Alison Hallford, Sue Hollingum, Barbary Ingham, Michelle Mirams, Lucy Morewood, Kim Nicholls, Sylvia Preece, Pamela Thom, Louise Whelton, Elizabeth Whittle
Townsfolk — Ted Berridge, Colin Blackler, Dona Brooks, Alan Bullas, Fred Castle, Josie Childs, Brenda Clark, Janette Faulkner, Natalie Faulkner, Nick Faulkner, Rachel Fortescue, Alan Gale, Alison Godfrey, Ethne Goode, Keith Goode, Mary Herriott, Jo Holroyd, Elizabeth Jakeman, Sue Johnson, Pauline Nicklin, Pricilla Ormorod, Geoff Orrill, David Robinson, June Sibthorpe, Donald Smith, Richard Smithson, Claire Townend, Phil de Voil, Eric Woodruff.
Children — James Bolton-King, Edward Bolton-King, Jack Mitchell, Paul Collins, Joe Nicklin, Catherine Anker, Rebecca Whelton, Ruth O’Conner, Laura Cox, Aimee Sanford, Abbi Sanford, Melanie Austin, Claire Blake, Katie Hempstock, Lisa Nicholls, Anna Hassell, Charlotte Mitchell, Lucy Nicklin, Benjamin Godfrey
Pages — Benjamin Godfrey, Jack Mitchell
Dancers — Rachel Bloomfied, Charlotte Harris, Katy Woodfield, Sarah Thorp, Sarah Ginn, Anna Dunkin, Mary Atkinson, Clare Thom, Gemma Allen, Ebony Arogundale, Jessica Clark, Ruth Thorpe, Natalie O’Neil, Rose Wyatt, Rebecca Gilkes, Polly Hampshire, Charlane Taylor, Jacqueline Cambell, Stacey Crook, Holly Badby, Amy Breslin, Charlotte Price
Queen’s Attendant — Kate Wolstencroft
The Players — Jane Shanahan, Ann Westcott, June Ronson, Jan Batchelor, Sue May, Anne Bonner, Marilyn Fairbairn, Jayne Buzzard, Anne Bloor, Dave Smith
Master at Arms — David Bishop, Ken Lilley
Yeomen — Malcom Abbott, Tom Anthistle, John Batton, Michael Bonnick, Keith Disney, Lionel Breedon, Lawrence Edegrave, John Giddings, Martin Hallford, Tim Holloway, Arthur Iddles, Richard Irons, David Jebbitt, Keith Manning, Kevin Matthews, George Mills, Keith Mullard, Cliff Osenton, Dave Settle, Bob White, John Washburn, Rod Watson, David Whittle, Alan Wolstencroft, Laurie Colegrave, Bob Campbell
Fanfare Trumpeters — Ruth Dale, Agnes Morrel, Connie Wookey, Corydon Morrel, Jason Glynn, Gary Keen, Peter Newbold, Les Sewell
Director — Andrew Wilson-Jenner
Musical Director — Goff Hales
Choreographer — Miss Susan Taylor
Associate Director —Janet Bishop, Jo Markham, Ian Preece
Associate Musical Director — Andrew Johnson, Philip Shaw
Associate Choreographer —Sharon Ulla
Orchestra – Members of Banbury Symphony Orchestra

If you would like to see the whole video, and you live within easy reach of Banbury, Gareth Jeremy is willing to lend it out, but you will need a working VHS video player. Contact us via our website email contactus@banburycrossplayer.org.uk

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