Celebrate St George’s Day at home

Published: 23 April 2021

st georges day dragon

The dragon has been a feature of St Georges Day events in the city in previous years.

The countdown has started to St George’s Day. This year dancers, musicians and actors have joined with the citizens of Derby to celebrate online with a specially-made video, free to watch on demand for seven days from Friday 23 April, England’s patron saint’s day.

In more normal times, city centre streets and the Market Place are the scene for the annual celebrations, but to keep everyone safe in line with current restrictions, all the quintessentially English frolics are happening online, with citizens called to join in from the comfort of their own homes. They have contributed videos of their own homemade dragons and mummers’ plays - and their creations can be seen in the final video.

Derby LIVE, Derby City Council’s arts and event arm, has teamed up with The Lost Boys and FOLK3D to create an online video experience which captures the spirit of the usual celebrations in all their tradition, colour and eccentricity. Tickets are free and are available from the Derby Live website – there is no need to wait until Friday to sign up.

In addition, hold your own online folk dance evening at home, via Zoom on Friday 23 April at 7.00pm for just £3.50 per household. FOLK3D’s Ceilidh features live musicians, easy instructions, and other dancers in their own homes to share the evening with.  A chance to show off your moves, have a laugh, or simply enjoy the music. It’s a lovely way to boost your wellbeing for the evening by sharing the St George’s Day celebrations. Tickets are available from the Derby Live website.

In the On Demand free video, look out for:

  • BBC Radio Derby newsreader Wesley Mallin breaking the news – a seven foot dragon is on the loose!
  • Clog dancer Carol Robinson and Morris Dancer Sara Marshall-Rose leading the dragon in a dance from the banks of the River Derwent to the Market Place. See if your homemade dragon is included in footage of their procession.
  • St George vs The Dragon acted out by the Lost Boys theatre company in a silent movie style – complete with dramatic music, slapstick comedy, and an improvised Knight’s horse.
  • Mummers’ Plays – traditional, fun, improvised folk theatre – created by our talented viewers at home.

The Lost Boys also act as compères for the video, which includes an address by the Deputy Mayor of the City of Derby, Cllr Balbir Sandhu, and The Derby Dragon song, written in 2016 by local school children, performed against a backdrop of some of the Derby Dragons presented in the Well Dressings of bygone years.

Traditional dance, and folk dance with a modern twist, is also featured in the video. Dancers include:

  • Kerry Fletcher from Folk Dance Remixed, creating a solo Maypole plait.
  • Rebecca Kell performing a Broom Dance, accompanied by the Derbyshire Youth Folk Ensemble, supported by The Derbyshire Music Education Hub,
  • Simon and Molly Pipe in a Double Jig in the Cotswold Morris tradition.
  • Step dancer Simon Harmer with the Whistling Billy Hornpipe, a traditional Sailor’s hornpipe, filmed right at the edge of the sea.
  • Priya Sundar, who performs traditional Indian Dance to English traditional music, with her re-enactment of the legend of St George and the Dragon.

The video ends with Hubbub Theatre Company’s virtual performance of the moving Dragon in Me, which looks at how to deal with our own inner ‘dragons’.

The dragon featured in the procession at the beginning of the video appears courtesy of Little Wolf Entertainment, who are producing this year’s Derby pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, with Derby LIVE.

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