A new play based on the medieval Cornish play Bewnans Meryasek, performed at Heartlands by a cast of over a hundred students from local schools.
Gwari nowyth selys war wari kresosel Kernewek Bewnans Meryasek, performys dhe Heartlands gans moy ages kans studhyer dhyworth skolyow teythyek.
Over the last ten weeks students from schools in Camborne and Pool have worked with a team of theatre professionals to create Meriasek, an exciting new piece of drama based on the Cornish medieval saint’s life play, Bewnans Meryasek.
Meriasek was a Breton priest who came to Cornwall and settled in the Camborne area, and the play features the story of Sylvester and the Dragon, which comes from the original play, together with other tales from medieval Cornish drama, all of which have been woven skilfully together to tell the story of the saint’s life.
Bewnans Meryasek was written in the Cornish language in 1504 by canons at Glasney College in Penryn, with the purpose of bringing the word of God to a predominantly illiterate populace, and it would have been performed in open air amphitheatres, known as ‘plen an gwari,’ in the Camborne area. The new play, Meriasek, incorporates elements of the Cornish language throughout, and follows the open air tradition by being performed out of doors at Heartlands.
The production was commissioned by MAGA, the Cornish Language Partnership, with the aim of raising awareness of medieval Cornish drama, particularly amongst young people, and returning a sense of ownership of the play to the people of the area in which it would originally have been performed. The students involved in the project took part in workshops on the Cornish language and the tradition of medieval Cornish drama, looking at how Cornwall played an important role in the development of drama in Britain and how the plays themselves have been instrumental in the revival of the language.
A resource pack for schools on medieval Cornish drama will be available to purchase from MAGA this autumn. To order a copy, contact MAGA on 01872 323497 or e-mail email@example.com.