Joculatores Lancastrienses

The Joculatores Lancastrienses was the stage name of an ever-changing group of Lancaster University students who did a production as the practical component of their course on ‘Medieval English Theatre’, supplemented by other student and local actors.  The name indicated descent from the Joculatores Oxonienses, a medieval theatre group masterminded by Meg Twycross in Oxford in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  There was a strong research element in all their work, and they specialised in plays which had not been performed for some centuries.

An early production of the York ‘Resurrection’ in the Nuffield Theatre Studio at Lancaster in 1978 was followed by the 1983 waggon-play of the ‘Purification and Doctors’, for the Chester Cycle Festival at Leeds, and later that summer as part of a select group in the streets of Chester.  This set up a tradition of playing wherever possible in something approximating to the original venue as well as at Lancaster, and the Joculatores played in Rufford Old Hall, Christ’s and Queen’s Colleges Cambridge, and the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in York, as well as along the original pageant routes at Chester and York, and in Durham.  They also played at European medieval theatre festivals, at Groningen (twice), and Perpignan.  Their last major production was in 1994.

Between 1983 and 1995 the group made a series of films in conjunction with Lancaster University Television. Funding from the 2MP project, with the co-operation of CrossBow Productions, has made it possible to present selected scenes from several of these performances for online viewing.

Inquiries regarding the archives of either the Joculatores Lancastrienses or Joculatores Oxonienses should be directed to Professor Meg Twycross at:m.twycross@lancs.ac.uk