Costumes created for unique festival finale

Jacobean dancing, illustrated in Joris Hoefnagel's painting, A F�te at Bermondsey
Jacobean dancing, illustrated in Joris Hoefnagel's painting, A F�te at Bermondsey

STEYNING is going back to Jacobean times, with residents donning court finery for a special 1614 dance.

The dance will be the finale for the Steyning Festival, to tie in with the 400-year celebrations at Steyning Grammar School.

People have the chance to create an entire costume, or just a hat or jerkin, to get in the spirit. They can dress up, or dress down, choosing to be a prince or a peasant.

Costume workshops are being held in the run-up to the festival to help.

Chairman Christine Aubrey said: “People can come and make something for the dance. It should be a really nice community event to round off the festival.”

The 1614 Dance will be held at Wiston House at Sunday, June 8, at 7.30pm. There will be a tractor taxi service available from 7pm.

Tickets are £30. The hog roast will be provided by Steyning Butchers and there will be the opportunity to relax and enjoy the house and gardens.

Music will be provided by The Broadside Band, directed by Jeremy Barlow, who has worked extensively with historical dancers for more than 30 years and has written and lectured widely on dance history. They will call the dances, so no prior knowledge is needed.

Ms Aubrey added: “Wiston House provides the perfect Jacobean setting for this festival finale. It will be like a barn dance, but with the music and dances of 1614.”

Costume suggestions include a hat, some buckles, a ruff, or some sackcloth for the peasants. The workshops will have ideas to inspire dancers, and a range of materials will be available for a small donation to the festival.

Jerry Doyle, from the marketing team, said: “We would ask that people bring along anything they believe suitable.

“Simple items such as big colourful long skirts, large white blouses or shirts, and plain-coloured men’s suits or waistcoats, would make wonderful starting points for a costume.”

Workshops will be held on Saturday, April 19, and Saturday, May 10, at Steyning Catholic Church Hall, in Bramber Road, from 10am to 4pm.

Festival organisers say the 1614 Dance is a ‘unique, never-to-be-repeated event’ and, to be contemporary, it is suggested dancers walk to Wiston House along Mouse Lane in a community trail.