ANCIENT

MOOR VOICES

‘Moor Voices’, supported by Arts Council England, will culminate in outdoor performances  on both Dartmoor and Exmoor of a play which deals with the possibility of matriarchal societies in the Bronze Age, suggested by the mythology associated with marine mammals. The project will involve community cast members, emerging artists and  professional practitioners who will help to deliver the project alongside the MED Theatre team. Schools in the surrounding areas of Dartmoor and Exmoor will be given the opportunity to take part in workshops inspired by the project and one of the final performances will be live-streamed to allow audiences around the world to watch online.‘Moor Voices’ is being co-ordinated by Florrie Taylor who will be working with us for a year beginning in September 2019.

The play which has emerged from the project – Dart and Eske – uses the myth of Brutus the Trojan landing in Devon at the end of the Bronze Age, as narrated by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 11th century, over two thousand years later. The play mixes this with the Ancient Greek myth of the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, guarded by Ladon, offspring of Ceto the Whale goddesses, as well as Celtic legends of selchies and the Inuit story of the seal goddess Sedna. All this is underpinned by the archaeology of possibly the most important Bronze Age landscape in Europe.

William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey Gaimar, provide colourful and different versions of the love triangle between Aelfthryth, daughter of Ordgar Earl of Devon, her first husband Ethelwold Earl of East Anglia and his best friend King Edgar – a triangle which sowed the seeds of the tragedy that was to befall England at the turn of the millennium. Gaimar and Malmesbury’s historical credentials are open to question, but their storytelling helps to fill out the sparse record of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the often oblique light shed by charters and other contemporary documents.