Bungay, home of the famous Black Dog of Bungay, will host a new annual Festival to celebrate the hoary hellhound Black Shuck!
On August 4th this year the Festival organising team, led by renowned painter and sculptor Stuart Pearson Wright and with support drawn from the wealth of talent Bungay has for music, poetry, art, drama and making, a precursor to the main event will be held, with activities on the Castle Bailey in the afternoon and in St. Mary’s Church, where, on August 4th 1577 the Black Dog of Bungay terrorised the fearful congregation. (See here for more details).
Preparations for the Black Shuck Festival this year came together very quickly with an enthusiastic team working hard to ensure a wonderful spectacle for this year.
The Black Dog Bungay knows and loves (?) as depicted on the weather vane in the centre of Bungay, has been redrawn by Mariko Aruga West – which, said local historian Chris Reeve: “That is an even better depiction – more terrifying!” and the image has been posted as an invitation to the people of Bungay to come along and enjoy the Procession of Black Shuck through the town, story telling on the Castle Bailey and a symbolic burning of the effigy to lay the demon to rest for another year. The cards have space on them for everyone to write down their own demons to cast them to the symbolic flames.
Workshops have been held to create the effigy and for children to make the lanterns they will carry on the procession.
James Mayhew, children’s author and book illustrator, who recently organised the first Dog Eared Children’s Book Festival, will be retelling the story of the Black Dog of Bungay in words and pictures and Charles Christian, the author of Shuckland, will tell the story of Roger Bigod, a ruthless Norman fixer – his rise from a humble hearth knight to the most powerful baron in East Anglia & founder of Bungay Castle. You can learn more about James Mayhew here and Charles Christian here.
The Festival moves to St. Mary’s Church for the evening – where Charles Christian will tell of the Wicked Nuns of St. Mary’s Priory, and what lies beneath the Druid’s stone. William Fergusson, who many will know from the wonderful Thursday Lunchtime Concerts at the church, will perform on the grand piano some dark and evocative pieces, including Scriabin’s Sonata no. 9. (You can read more about Alexander Scriabin and the mystic philosophy that underpins his work here). And more about the ridiculously talented Will Fergusson here.
After the interval The Feathered Thorns give us ‘moonlit songs of haunting fragility and sharp-toothed menace’ – you may have caught them at First Light Festival last month. More about The Feathered Thorns here,
The evening comes to a dramatic (and perhaps terrifying) conclusion with the Reverend Abraham Fleming retelling A Straunge and Terrible Wunder.
This year’s festival is part of the much, much bigger project led by Stuart Pearson Wright to bring a massive bronze statue of Black Shuck to Bungay – you can see the presentation made to the town here.
The Beccles and Bungay Journal article on the Festival is here.