A Crisis of Gerontocracy and the Coventry Play

  • Sheila K. Christie University of Alberta


The extant Coventry pageants were both revised in the wake of a period of demographic and economic crisis for the city. Exploring the language and theatrical techniques of these revisions, this article shows how the pageants evoke contemporary artisanal and civic contexts in addition to the texts’ central religious stories. Both pageants express nostalgia for and anxiety over the failure of gerontocratic hierarchies. Recognizing these contemporary references demonstrates how the pageants bring local political and social issues into a public forum.