BRINGING THE PAST TO LIFE
At its inception, the guild established a relationship with Kevin Patterson and “As You Like It” Productions, and portrayed the Elizabethan court at the “Heart of the Forest” Renaissance Faires in Santa Barbara and Stafford Lake. The guild continues to perform at renaissance faires from Lake Tahoe to San Diego. At these events, the guild provides the color and pageantry associated with the presence of the Elizabethan aristocracy and the Queen herself. A typical day may begin with a prayer service taken directly from the 1559 Book of Common Prayer. The morning is a time for games and interacting in character with the audience, followed by a dinner at mid-day. The afternoon might feature some court dancing or singing, an afternoon “banquet” of sweets, and more interaction with the audience. If the Queen is present, the guild members support her in any way needed, including participating in a welcoming procession or staged show. Finally, the day might end with more singing or dancing, or with an evening prayer service to bring down the curtain.
In 2003 the Guild of St. George produced a series of events at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino in conjunction with the Huntington’s “Gloriana” exhibit commemorating the life of Queen Elizabeth. The guild presented over a dozen events, from small gatherings to a day long Elizabethan festival. These events included many of the same elements described above for a Renaissance Faire. The Huntington has the largest collection of Elizabethan memorabilia and manuscripts outside of England and the audience for these events included some of the top historians in the world. The Huntington was so impressed with the quality and historical accuracy of the guild’s presentations that we have been invited back for a variety of events since then, including a day long Accession Day celebration on November 17, 2007.
The Guild of St. George has also performed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles in support of exhibits related to renaissance art. For these events, the guild presented a staged masque that combines music, dancing, and spoken verse, in addition to in character interaction with the visitors to the museum.
RENAISSANCE FEASTS AND CONCERTS
Once or twice a year, the Guild of St. George presents a renaissance feast that captures the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of an evening meal in the presence chamber of a royal palace. This time travel experience includes singing and dancing, food, drink, and witty conversation, set amid a multi-course meal of authentic food in the ambience of England’s golden age. Guests are seated on long tables surrounded by the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of an Elizabethan meal, while the elegantly costumed members of the Guild of St. George present 16th century madrigals and courtly dances, accompanied by the instrumental music of the Wessex Consort. Guests eat from messes and observe the manners of the Elizabethan Age.
The St. George Early Music Ensemble often perform as part of the Baxter Concert Series at First United Methodist Church of Whittier. These concerts are presented in the neo-gothic sanctuary and are performed in costume and in character with explanatory dialogue. For several years the Ensemble has been featured at the annual party of the Southern California Early Music Society (SCEMS).
Providing musical accompaniment for our courtly dances and dalliances at many of our renaissance faire appearances is the New Queen’s Ha’Penny Consort.
Feasts and Dinner Dances
Several times a year, the members of the Guild of St. George gather for a meal in character and in costume. These allow the actors to become familiar with the manners and movements of period dining and to be comfortable in the restrictive clothing of the Elizabethan courtiers. Food may or may not be period, but it is served and eaten in the fashion of the Elizabethans.
For Elizabethan Dinner Dances, the members of the Guild of St. George meet in a larger setting for a day long gathering that includes a period meal, dancing, singing and games, as well as character interaction.
Field Trips and Historical Immersion Experiences
Throughout the year, the Guild of St. George organizes visits to renaissance faires, museums, lectures, concerts, and other events, in costume where appropriate. These are part of the guild’s internal educational program.
In 2004, members of the Guild of St. George spent a weekend at the Pelican Inn in Muir Beach. For two days, the members remained in costume and in character; dancing, singing, eating and interacting.