Ken Hildebrandt, Gallery 7 Theatre’s Executive/Artistic Director. (Gallery 7/Special to The Star)

Abbotsford’s Gallery 7 Theatre takes a trip to the Medieval and Elizabethan era

Pageant Wagon Theatre will feature a collection of live-streamed dramatic readings of plays

Gallery 7 Theatre is presenting Pageant Wagon Theatre, a collection of live-streamed dramatic readings of plays from the Medieval and Elizabethan era.

Just as the pageant wagons of the 15th century trundled their way through towns to regale the townsfolk with performances of Biblical stories, Gallery 7 Theatre is wheeling into homes, with tales of old as the playbill.

Ken Hildebrandt, the theatre’s artistic director, said COVID forced him to close a significant chapter of Gallery 7 Theatre’s history. “Without us being able to perform inside a theatre, we thought bringing theatre to the people, just like they did in Medieval days, albeit with cameras and computer screens, would be a fitting celebration of our roots as a theatre.”

Dramatic readings of three plays will be performed from the Abbotsford Arts Centre stage as live-stream events over two weekends: Everyman and The Second Shepherd’s Play will be performed as a double feature on Nov. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Macbeth by William Shakespeare will be performed on Nov. 27 and 28, at 7:30 p.m.

“Pageant Wagon Theatre represents an extremely rare opportunity for audiences to hear these iconic plays performed,” explained Hildebrandt. “Audiences will be regaled and enlightened by these entertaining and thought-provoking stories. It’s definitely a unique theatrical offering, an experience that promises to be like no other”.

The stories are as follows:

Everyman by Anonymous: Everyman, representative of all humankind, is suddenly called to give a reckoning before God for the life he has lived. Inviting mystical characters such as Fellowship, Good Deeds and Knowledge to accompany him on his pilgrimage, Everyman soon realizes that in the end, when he stands before God, all he has left to offer is his good deeds.

The Second Shepherd’s Play (adapted to modern English) by Ian Borden: A group of shepherds attempt to rescue a missing sheep from the clutches of a rapscallion sheep-stealing couple who will go to great lengths to conceal their thievery.

Little to do the Shepherds know that a holy announcement from the Heavenly hosts is forthcoming that will change their lives for ever. One of the most famous mystery plays from the Wakefield Cycle of the 15th century, the play promises plenty of laughs and will help set the stage for the Holiday season.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare: Macbeth, a Scottish general, is enticed by a prophesy from three witches, who predict he will become the King of Scotland. Spurred on by his ambitions and his determined wife, Macbeth murders his way to a usurped throne. Wracked by guilt and paranoia, Macbeth’s reign descends into bloody tyranny until forces led by Thane of Fife restore peace and light in the kingdom.

READ MORE: Gallery 7 launches series of online courses ranging from sound design to playwriting

Everyman and The Second Shepherd’s Play will be performed by Jacob Bernardin, John Dawson, Mikayla Froese, Laura Ruth Mackenzie, Miranda Martin and is directed by Ken Hildebrandt.

Tickets are ‘Pay What You Can’, starting at $15, or a package including both weekends can be purchased at a ‘Pay What You Can’ price starting at $30.

To order tickets and to learn more about Pageant Wagon Theatre, people can visit www.gallery7theatre.com.

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