St Catherine’s School Centenary Pageant: A Vivid Tapestry of 2000 Years of Women in History

Pageant type


<p>For St Catherine’s School.</p>

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Place: St Catherine’s School (Bramley) (Bramley, Surrey, England)

Year: None

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: n/a

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Devised, Designed and Directed by [Pageant Master]: Clarke, David
  • Assistant to David Clarke: Jane MacIntyre
  • Master of Properties: Gareth Floyd
  • Assistant to Gareth Floyd: Jan Kaudeur
  • Master of the Horse: Lesley Cundy
  • Choreographer: Susan Thompson
  • Director of Sound: Alexander Lyon
  • Director of Lighting: Ian Maxwell
  • Historical Dance Adviser: Anya Grinsted
  • Wardrobe Mistress: Juliet Renny
  • Master of Horse: Lesley Cundy


Names of executive committee or equivalent


Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)

Clarke, David

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information

Object of any funds raised

To raise funds for a new school building.

Linked occasion

Centenary of St Catherine’s School

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Yes
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events

Fireworks display.

Pageant outline

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Mark Anthony [Marcus Antonius] (83-40BC)
  • Cleopatra [Cleopatra VII Philopater] (69-30BC)
  • Boudicca [Boadicea] (d. AD 60/61) queen of the Iceni
  • Wu Chao [Wu Zetian; Wu Hao] (624-705)
  • Hild [St Hild, Hilda] (614–680) abbess of Strensall–Whitby
  • Æthelflæd [Ethelfleda] (d. 918) ruler of the Mercians
  • Abelard, Peter (1079-1142)
  • Héloïse (?-1164)
  • Eleanor [Eleanor of Aquitaine], suo jure duchess of Aquitaine (c.1122–1204) queen of France, consort of Louis VII, and queen of England, consort of Henry II
  • Joan of Arc [Jeanne d’Arc] (1412-1431)
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596) pirate, sea captain, and explorer
  • Pocahontas [Matoaka, Amonute; married name Rebecca Rolfe] (c.1596–1617) Algonquian Indian princess
  • Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour [Madame de Pompadour] (1721-1764)
  • Louis XV [Louis the Beloved, king of France] (1710-1774)
  • Brontë, Anne [pseud. Acton Bell] (1820–1849) novelist and poet
  • Brontë [married name Nicholls], Charlotte [pseud. Currer Bell] (1816–1855) novelist
  • Brontë, Emily Jane [pseud. Ellis Bell] (1818–1848) novelist and poet
  • Nightingale, Florence (1820–1910) reformer of Army Medical Services and of nursing organization
  • Victoria (1819–1901) queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and empress of India
  • Terry, Dame Ellen Alice (1847–1928) actress
  • Bernhardt, Sarah Henriette Rosine (1844–1923) actress
  • Kingsley, Mary Henrietta (1862–1900) traveller and writer
  • Lloyd, Marie [real name Matilda Alice Victoria Wood] (1870–1922) music-hall entertainer
  • Tilley, Vesta [real name Matilda Alice Powles; married name Matilda Alice de Frece, Lady de Frece] (1864–1952) music-hall entertainer

Musical production

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Book of words

St Catherine’s School Centenary Pageant Programme: A Vivid Tapestry of 2000 Years of Women in History. Guildford, 1985. [Price £1.]

Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of programme in Surrey History Centre, Woking, reference 8147/3.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



St Catherine’s is a fee-paying school in Surrey with approximately 880 pupils, of which 170 board.1 The pageant was organised by David Clarke, who was a prominent pageant master in Surrey (see Shalford Park (1987) and Farnham (1988)). J.R. Palmer, the school’s headmaster, declared that ‘Our theme shows a perspective of history from the view point of some famous women, and t towards the end of the production, a history of the school itself is woven into the story.’2 An anonymous source wrote the following of the pageant:

1985 was the Centenary year for St. Catherine's School and it was celebrated by a pageant based on women through the ages because we are a girls' school. Many animals were included: a cow and donkey as well as horses. Two vintage cars were brought in and there were fireworks. A big stand was put up for the parents to watch, and it was performed on three days. The gym was used for make-up and costumes. For all the three days chaos reigned through the school. The Upper Thirds were allowed to come in at 10.30 because it went on so late at night. The whole thing caused great excitement. The pageant was written and directed by David Clarke. The most spectacular scene was the Victorian seaside with Queen Victoria. Everyone was involved: children, teachers, estate staff and some parents.3


  1. ^ (accessed 6 June 2016).
  2. ^ J.R. Palmer, in St Catherine’s School Centenary Pageant Programme; A Vivid Tapestry of 2000 Years of Women in History (Guildford, 1985), unpaginated.
  3. ^ BBC Domesday Reloaded,: ‘St Catherine’s Pageant’: (accessed 6 June 2016).

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘St Catherine’s School Centenary Pageant: A Vivid Tapestry of 2000 Years of Women in History’, The Redress of the Past,