News Archive

 

2nd May 2012

Archbishop Rowan Williams endorses the book of Redcrosse!

'How do we think about identity in ways that don't reflect anxiety, fear of the other, uncritical adulation of our past and all the other pitfalls that surround this subject? The Redcrosse project manages to negotiate these difficulties with immense imaginative energy and honesty: no sour notes, no attempt to overcompensate by desperately overapologetic rhetoric, simply a recovery of deep roots and generous vision. As much as it takes its cue from Spenser, it's a contemporary working out of some of the great and inexhaustible legacy of Blake, a unique contribution to what is often a pretty sterile discussion of who we are in these islands.' - Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, UK

Redcrosse is now at press and will be published to coincide with the RSC Redcrosse in Coventry Cathedral on the 17th of November this year. For more on the book click here.


16th March 2012

We're delighted to announce that the Royal Shakespeare Company will be performing Redcrosse in Coventry Cathedral as part of the Cathedral's Golden Jubilee on November the 17th 2012. For further information, please click here.

 

29th January 2012

The new poetic liturgy arising from the project, together with some reflections by major writers, is due to be published later this year by Continuum Books. A description of the book and the table of contents follow.

 

Redcrosse: remaking religious poetry for today’s world

Do poetry and criticism matter in today’s world?
How can the poetry of the past help us tackle the changing nature of religious faith and national identity?

This book explores the creation of Redcrosse: a new poetic liturgy for St George’s Day and a unique collaborative work written by the critic Ewan Fernie, the theologian Andrew Shanks and the major contemporary poets Jo Shapcott, Michael Symmons Roberts and Andrew Motion. The authors of the poem together with other leading writers - including John Milbank, Salley Vickers and Sarah Apetrei - reflect on the creation of the liturgy and its central inspiration, Edmund Spenser’s epic Renaissance poem, The Faerie Queene, as well as on its two premieres in St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Manchester Cathedral, and its sometimes controversial public reception.

Including the full text of Redcrosse itself, the volume triumphantly shows that a new poetic work really can address some of the most pressing concerns of our time.

Contents

Contributors

Acknowledgements

1. Reflections
Ewan Fernie, ‘Through the Red Cross’
Salley Vickers, ‘For Real’
Andrew Shanks, ‘A Desire for the Impossible’
Michael Symmons Roberts, ‘The Poet’s Tale’
Sarah Apetrei, ‘Fight the Good Fight?’
John Milbank, ‘From Romance to Ritual: Redcrosse and Spenser’s Faerie Queene

2. Redcrosse
A New Celebration of England and St George by Ewan Fernie, Michael Symmons Roberts, Jo Shapcott and Andrew Shanks, and featuring a new poem from Andrew Motion.

 

Music Commission

Eminent composer Tim Garland has received a major commission to compose music for the Faerie Queene Liturgy Project which will be performed by Acoustic Triangle and the Choir of Royal Holloway in St George's Chapel Windsor and Manchester Cathedral.

A note from Tim Garland on his new composition 'The Faerie Queene Canticles':

Four poems from different contemporary writers, all personalising one of the four elements, are the settings for these songs. Each was written also with the story of St. George in mind, and his trials through the material world. The recurring theme of St. George is heard on the soprano sax. Although the songs can be sung with piano or organ, the choir is ideally accompanied by musicians with improvising skills. Some of the unpredictable, spontaneous and even vulnerable qualities of our central character (who really is representing us all as we either battle or befriend the elements,) can have animated life amidst the narrative of the choir. The over-arching message of the poems is one of unity, appreciated through our common frailty and fallibility. For me it is not a mono-religious work when out of its context in a service, but a chance for a second life for four beautiful and thought provoking poems which question, as much as they celebrate, our higher aspirations. I hope this is reflected in the music I felt moved to write.

A special concert version of Tim Garland's music will form part of a mixed concert by Acoustic Triangle and the Royal Holloway Choir at 7.30pm on Friday 8th July 2011 in Romsey Abbey, Hampshire. This is a Romsey Arts Festival event, and tickets are available from Romsey Tourist Information Centre on 01794 512987.

25 May 2011
Some photos of the 'gegants' (puppets) from Manchester Cathedral are now available here. The two Catalan-style ‘gegants’, giant puppet figures, represent Spenserian figures, namely St. George and the Dragon. They were made by artists working with clients from the Booth Centre for the Homeless, based at the Cathedral; the project has been supported by two grants, from Awards for All and from the Church Urban Fund.

18 May 2011
An interesting reflection on Recrosse is now available here.

13 May 2011
A write-up of our recent event in Manchester from the Manchester Evening News is now available here. The link includes a video from the beginning of the service, prior to the liturgy, though we apologise for the quality of the video which is somewhat shaky. Some photos of the event are to follow.

09 May 2011
Faerie Queene Liturgy Commission member, Andrew Shanks, was on the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 this week, talking about Redcrosse: A New Celebration of England and St George in advance of our event in Manchester Cathedral which ran from 5.30 on the same day. For a limited time, the interview is available to listen to again, via the BBC iPlayer. Click here.

05 April 2011
For some spectacular photos of Redcrosse at the Windsor Spring Festival, click here.

The Guardian reviews the Faerie Queene Now's new Liturgy
(posted 25th January 2011)
The Faerie Queene Project received prominent mention in The Guardian Culture section yesterday.
You can read the full article here.

 

The Faerie Queene Now! project receives Arts Council Funding
(posted 1st December 2010)

The Faerie Queene Now! project has received £3000 of funding from the Arts Council.

 

We're on Facebook!
(posted 20th November)

The Faerie Queene Now! project now has a presence on Facebook.
You'll need an acount to be able to follow us on this site.

Fable and Drama Workshops
(posted 25th October 2010)

Write-ups of Fable and Drama Workshops in our partner schools are now available:
Workshop One: Bishop David Brown School, Woking
Workshop Two: George Mitchell School, Leyton
Workshop Three: Bishop David Brown School, Woking
In addition there are some scene-setting materials, tasks and characters for the workshops here.

Second Meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (Manchester Group)
(posted 30th July 2010)

Funding has now been raised for the making of two Catalan-style processional ‘giants’, St. George and the Dragon. These will be made by artists working with clients from the Booth Centre for the Homeless, based at the Cathedral; the project has been supported by two grants, from Awards for All and from the Church Urban Fund.

For more infromation and to access the write-up of the second meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (Manchester Group), please click here.

Second Meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (Windsor Group)
(posted 22nd July 2010)

To access the write-up of the second meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (Windsor Group), please click here.

Inaugural Meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (Manchester Group)
(posted 11th May 2010; updated 27th May 2010)

The Manchester arm of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project has now held a very successful and stimulating inaugural meeting. To view the write-up from the first Manchester Group meeting, please click here.

Inaugural Meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (Windsor Group)
(posted 19th April 2010)


A recording of the inaugural meeting of The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project (held on 14th April 2010) in St George's House, Windsor Castle is now available HERE.  Members of the Project were asked to share impressions of the aesthetic and spiritual possibilities of Spenser’s Book 1, the quest for holiness, for contemporary society and religion.  Ewan Fernie, Jo Shapcott, Michael Symmons Roberts and Andrew Shanks will now work with these reactions in drafting their new text inspired by The Faerie Queene which will form the basis of the high-profile events in Windsor Castle and Manchester Cathedral with which the project culminates. To view the write-up from the first Windsor Group meeting, please click here.

New Music for The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project
(posted 6th April 2010)

The LCACE (London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange) have awarded The Faerie Queene Now project money which has enabled us to commission new music for The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project. We’re in the process of commissioning the composer Tim Garland to compose four original ‘Faerie Queene Canticles’ for jazz trio Acoustic Triangle and the Royal Holloway College Choir.  These canticles will set original texts inspired by The Faerie Queene by the writers (Ewan Fernie, Michael Symmons Roberts, Jo Shapcott and Andrew Shanks).  We are also seeking further funding to support this new musical part of the project.

Update: 21st April 2010

The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project has just been awarded a further grant from the PRS Foundation for Music. We are still looking for further investment in this dimension of the project.