History of Kett’s Rebellion to come to life at Lord Mayor’s Procession
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
They are central to the heritage of Norwich and have been celebrated pieces of history for hundreds of years.
For the first time this summer, the story of Kett's Rebellion will be united with the Lord Mayor's Procession as Norwich amateur dramatic group The Common Lot bring the tale of insurrection back to the city streets.
The group will join dozens of floats winding through Norwich on Saturday, July 2, in full attire as they tour a new performance of the infamous rebellion around the county.
1549: The Story of Kett's Rebellion, will feature more than 30 cast members re-enacting the uprising.
The rebellion, during the reign of Edward VI, was largely in response to the enclosure of land. It began at Wymondham on July 8, 1549 with rebels destroying fences put up by wealthy landowners.
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One of their targets was farmer Robert Kett, who, instead of resisting them, offered to lead them.
Kett and some 16,000 set up camp on Mousehold Heath and went on to storm Norwich. The rebellion ended on August 27 when the rebels were defeated.
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Kett was tried for treason, and hanged from the walls of Norwich Castle on December 7.
Simon Floyd, who co-wrote the show with Karl Minns and will direct along with Duncan Joseph, said the production has been updated with 'contemporary resonances'.
'It is a completely different script to reflect today's political situation,' he said. 'There are new songs which have been re-written and a bigger cast and crew.
'The whole thing is about the common man and sharing in the community. Nobody is getting paid to do this so in a way it is our gift to Norwich. We have come together for the people of Norwich through shared resources. 'The common land was taken away years ago by men who wanted to make profit, and we are giving back to the community of Norwich.
'I think people recognise the similarities in the structure today with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. There is a mind-set about individual ownership rather than community ownership, and the worst aspects of capitalism are obvious today.
'There is a political motivation for doing this play now, with the banking crisis and bonuses going through the roof. It questions where the worth lies in people's ordinary lives, and it doesn't take a wild imagination to see the relevance of it today.'
The project is a collaboration between the Common Lot and Mind the Gap, who are writing and performing the music for the show. 'The style of the piece is 'panto-documentary'; telling true history but in a panto style,' added Mr Floyd.
'This is the first time the Common Lot have been involved, and we are going to be walking in costume interacting with the crowd and singing the songs from the show.'
On July 9, the group will be lighting a beacon on Kett's Heights in memory of the men and women who suffered during the period.