‘In the Shadow of the Vikings’ followed the story of Aelfthryth, a Dartmoor girl who became Queen of England in the 10th century. The play charted the politics of the time from the point of view of Devon, creating a vivid and moving account of the end of the Anglo-Saxon era, with a message of hope for the future in this parable of the problems of migration and integration.
Butter-making and the Threat of Invasion
New research suggests that Dartmoor was used by the Anglo-Saxons as summer pasture where girls took their cattle from the manors of surrounding Devon to make butter. The threat of the Viking raiders came and went, and finally came again with a vengeance in the form of the sack of Tavistock Abbey in 997. The contrast between the idyllic summer activity of dairying and the darker reality of living under the threat of invasion formed the basis for ‘In the Shadow of the Vikings’.
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‘Excellent, hugely enjoyable! …this is the first production I have seen (how much have I been missing!) My seven year old son was captivated and was full of pillage at breakfast this morning… it was good for young and old, informing us of our connections to the past, and the palimpsest of the Dartmoor landscape.’ – Audience member, Mary Tavy