Perambulation and Performance in Early Modern Festive Culture


  • Matthew Woodcock University of East Anglia



Early modern performance


This essay examines the performative aspect of observances and festivities associated with Rogationtide, or ‘perambulation day’, in early modern England. After considering pre- and post-Reformation Rogationtide traditions, it identifies how these occasions were an opportunity for communities and parishes to reflect upon and consolidate local boundaries and identities. It also explores how documentary evidence for perambulations broadens critical understandings of the mimetic, musical, and festive activities recorded in the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project, posing methodological questions about using performance as well as mimesis as a characteristic determining a record’s inclusion in a REED collection.

Author Biography

Matthew Woodcock, University of East Anglia

Matthew Woodcock ( is professor of medieval and early modern literature in the school of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He has published books on Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, and Shakespeare's Henry V. His biography of soldier-poet Thomas Churchyard was published by Oxford UP in 2016, and his essay collection Early Modern Military Identities, 1560-1639 appeared in 2019. With Dr Emily Mayne he is co-editing the revised Records of Early English Drama collection on early modern Norwich.






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