The Great Charter Festival, Royal Holloway University, Egham
14th June 2015
We were invited to be part of the Great Charter Fesvtival – ‘a one day summer fair with a radical twist’ which commemorated the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Our venue was the rather splendid setting of the Dining Hall in the Founders Building at Royal Holloway University. The university is sited just a few miles from the field in Runnymede where the charter was sealed and this one day festival incorporated lots of activities celebrating its legacy.
This proved to be an interesting context for the show – the Magna Carta has had an influence around the world on the concept of the rule of law, personal freedom and the power of governments. This gave us the opportunity to explore statistics around the legal system, the history of protest, our changing relationship with the royal family and the fight for suffrage. A number of statistics that have appeared in previous shows were seen in a different light when viewed in this context. It threw up examples of sites which have always been gathering places for protest through the centuries. It made us think how difficult it must have been to gather the million signatures on the petition to free the Tolpuddle martyrs compared to gathering the same number today to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson. It helped us to realise that although the Magna Carta was initially a failure its themes and principles have resonated through the ages, continue to do so today and still need to be protected.
Performers: Jake Oldershaw, Rochi Rampal and Craig Stephens
Images: Jake Oldershaw, Rochi Rampal and Stan’s Cafe