Norwich group's online musical drama about Elizabethan superstar

Music trio Hexachordia.

Music trio Hexachordia. - Credit: Hexachordia

A musical trio has combined history and modern technology to tell the story of Elizabethan performer William Kempe in a new way during lockdown.

Norwich-based Hexachordia normally plays early music from the era of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I to audiences across East Anglian churches but, due to coronavirus restrictions, it cannot tour.

But audiences will be able to watch the group's musical talents through a 55-minute long docu-concert called Kempe's Jig, inspired by the performer who danced 108 miles from London to Norwich in 1600 in nine days.

The spectacle by the comic actor, who appeared in William Shakespeare's early productions, was called the Nine Daies Wonder.

Comic actor and dancer William Kempe danced the morris from the Mansion House, London, to the churchyard of St Peter...

Comic actor and dancer William Kempe danced the morris from London to Norwich in a journey he called the 'Nine Days' Wonder' during February and March 1600. - Credit: Archant

Within Hexachordia's video, words written by Kempe, who died in 1603, are read out by group member Tony Scheuregger, as well as musical pieces from the time played by the trio, storytelling of Kempe's journey from landmarks of Norwich and images.

Mr Scheuregger, 69, from a former music teacher and composer for television and radio adverts and programmes, said: "We have done nothing, live performance wise, for one year now. It is depressing. Music is an art form. You are communicating with people. I miss that."

The group was formed a decade ago and is made up of Tony, his wife, Jane, 53, who live off Christchurch Road, Norwich, and friend Sarah Doig, from Rickinghall in Suffolk, and all have musical backgrounds.

Kempe's Jig was inspired by a similar video the group made before Christmas last year featuring carols and poetry.

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The latest video took over two months to make and edit together and Mr Scheuregger is hoping it will be used by history societies, U3A groups and anyone interested in Will Kemp. People have to pay to watch it on the group's website.

Music group Hexachordia performing to an audience before March 2020.

Music group Hexachordia performing to an audience before March 2020. - Credit: Hexachordia

Mr Scheuregger added: "William Kempe is an important part of Shakespeare and he has a connection with Norwich. It is a fascinating and compelling story."

He said there could be nothing more important than music to help distract people during lockdown because it offered an escape from everyday life.

The group's next docu-concert will be based on a visit by Elizabeth I to Norwich in 1578.