St Just Ordinalia


St Just Ordinalia

In September 2021, at the historic Plen an Gwari site in St Just, we will be holding a two week festival of open air repertory performances of all three Ordinalia plays, and Cornish language and theatre Workshops.


Under autumn sunsets and the dark skies of West Cornwall, we shall be creating a true celebration of Cornish cultural life. We shall be launching our project in the summer of 2020 with a series of roadshows and taster sessions across Cornwall, to coincide with the loan of the Bodleian Ordinalia manuscripts to Kresen Kernow, Cornwall's new archive centre.

We will be storing and preserving our costumes, sets and equipment, and maintaining a complete blueprint and archive of activities to enable the Ordinalia to be performed in St Just every three to four years thereafter, with minimal ongoing funding. The Ordinalia will then be a permanent event on the Cornish cultural calendar

As well as providing opportunities for 9 volunteer roles working alongside the stage management and production and design teams, with appropriate funding and our established links with Creative Kernow, we will support two three month paid internships for young people to work on various aspects of the Ordinalia project. This funding could also provide professional coaching and mentoring support to the volunteer cast.

We are a company of professionals, semi-professionals and talented volunteers who will create a community led production in an historic setting. We will be collaborating with artistic, musical , educational and promotional organisations across Cornwall. We intend to reach international, national and county wide audiences through innovative curated streaming to Cornish societies in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; Russell Group Universities with Celtic language or ancient manuscript links; St Just's twinned town of Huelgoat in Brittany: and similar streaming to community venues across Cornwall.

We are planning a significant legacy that will benefit schools, the community, the Cornish language, tourism and will showcase the talents of the many participants who work with us.

A core group of people who were involved with the 2000 - 2004 productions are helping to lead the project, and to build upon and transfer experience and expertise to a new generation. However, the productions we are planning will have a new purpose, and a different approach to audience experience, heritage and legacy. The reach and impact of this innovative and ambitious project will be lasting.

The Ordinalia play texts represent a Cornish heritage that has survived the Reformation and the destruction of the magnificent college at Glasney which created them; the whims of erratic kings and queens, the very Church itself, political rivalry and puritanical governments, rebellions, civil wars, world wars, and the loss of all but two of the playing places they were created for. In all their long history, nothing and no one has managed to suppress and stifle these plays, which can still speak to and move modern audiences.