The performers of The Lions Part revisit ancient midwinter traditions on Bankside, near Shakespeare’s Globe.
The festivities begin with the arrival of the Holly Man (a Christmas variation on the pagan Green Man), who will travel up the Thames aboard the waterman’s cutter Trinity Tide. Then the Bankside Mummers and London Beadle join in ‘wassails’ – toasts to the prosperity of the crowd, the river and the Globe theatre.
A freestyle Mummers’ Play based on the story of St George follows, before Twelfth Night cakes are distributed to the audience to identify this year’s King Bean and Queen Pea (if you find a legume in your slice, it’s you).
Then the King and Queen head a procession to the George Inn for stories, dancing, frolicks centred on a ‘kissing wishing tree’ and plenty of mulled wine.