Jubilee

"Jubilee": a show about the early 1950s by the Good Companions, based on their own memories and devised for the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002-3. A small book was published to mark the event and the show's premiere. It contains the original stories supplied by the Good Companions and other volunteers at the Reminiscence Centre, the process by which these stories were converted into a reminiscence show and the eventual script. The book is no longer available in print, but the text is reproduced here. 

The photos show the souvenirs and photos brought in by members of the Good Companions and a scene devised around their memories of coronation day. Many of them remembered gathering in neighbours' houses to watch the ceremony on television, a very novel experience for almost everyone. While re-enacting watching the tiny screen, the players are also depicting what they are seeing, as the queen lowers the heavy crown on to her head and what they are feeling: suspense and awe. So, a solemn occasion recalled, but played with humour by the older performers.

More generally, the play portrayed what was happening in the lives of the Good Companions in the early 1950s. Most were young mothers, several living on new housing estates far from their own mothers and the areas where they had grown up. Some were waiting for their fiancées to return from National Service and others were living overseas because of their husband’s work.  The more the Good Companions focused on the early 50s in their story-telling and improvisation, the more they remembered, and the more they triggered one another’s memories, so that the coronation was set in a rich context of lived experience of the time. 

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Page link: Production
Production
Photos, script, documentation, and book