Ely Cathedral Millennium Pageant

Other names

  • ‘Making All Things New’

Pageant type

Jump to Summary


Place: Ely Cathedral (Ely) (Ely, Cambridgeshire, England)

Year: 2000

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 3


2–4 March 2000, at 7.30pm

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Director [Pageant Master]: Inge, John
  • Production Manager: Ben Payne
  • Properties Manager: Carolyn Pritchard
  • Properties Assistant: Ruby Johnston
  • Wardrobe Mistress: Dorothy Matthews
  • Wardrobe Assistants: Donald Matthews and Mary Barber
  • Box Office/Programme Design: Ron Greydanus
  • Publicity Design: Tom Ambrose
  • Sound Technician: Steven Sheard
  • Assistant Sound Technician: Simon Kenning
  • Sound Designer: Stephen Paine
  • Follow Spots: The Penguin Club
  • Lighting Designer: James Laws
  • Director of Narrators: Jeremy Lemmon
  • Solo Voice: Kate Aylmer
  • Director of Brass: Michael Sedgwick
  • Musical Arrangers: Jan Payne, Paul Trepte, Scott Farrell
  • Musical Director: Jan Payne

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

Upjohn, Sheila

Names of composers

  • Payne, Jan

Numbers of performers


Financial information

Object of any funds raised

Towards the Ely Cathedral Restoration Fund

Linked occasion

The Millennium

Audience information

  • Grandstand: No
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Scene 1. The Christ Child is born and searched out by the Magi

Scene 2. The Word of God is carried to Ely

Scene 3. St Ethelreda establishes a Christian community on the island.

Scene 4. The First Viking Attack

Scene 5. The Second Viking Attack: The Battle of Maldon

Scene 6. The Siege of Ely by the Normans

Scene 7. The Monastery Yields to William the Conqueror

Scene 8. The Collapse of the Norman Tower and Planning of the Lantern

Scene 9. The Dedication of the Lantern

Scene 10a. The Black Death

Scene 10b. The Dissolution of the Monastery

Scene 11. The Fenland Riot and Draining of the Fens

Scene 12. Oliver Cromwell Closes the Cathedral

Scene 13. Celia Fiennes Visits the Cathedral

Scene 14. Plans are laid for Restoration by James Essex

Scene 15. The Victorian Restoration of the Cathedral

Scene 16. The Great Restoration 1986-2000

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production

A millennium hymn was specially composed by Jan Payne

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Book of words


Other primary published materials


Millennium pageant: ‘Making All Things New’. Ely, 2000.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme in Cambridgeshire Local Studies Collection, Cambridge, Reference R03.0813

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The Ely Cathedral Pageant was one of a number of pageants held to coincide with the millennium. Others were held in Cranford and Axbridge. John Inge, the then vice-dean of Ely Cathedral wrote in the programme:

The story of Ely Cathedral is an extraordinary one with a theme running through it. Time and again it has looked as though the Cathedral would be destroyed and the Christian community associated with it extinguished, but time and again new life has arisen from destruction and death. On each of these occasions—from Viking sackings to the dissolution of the monastery, from the collapse of parts of the building to its closure during the Commonwealth—the promise God gives in the Book of Revelation to make all things new has been fulfilled. This pageant has been designed to celebrate this fact—and to give us all an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the God who makes all things new and whose faithfulness has been demonstrated in Christian history here in Ely.1

The theme of restoration and making things new was particular pertinent to the cathedral. In 1986 it had been discovered that the roofs, timber and stonework of much of the Cathedral were becoming unsafe and a massive restoration project was undertaken at the cost of £8 million between 1991 and 2000.2 The pageant celebrated the survival of the cathedral, which celebrated its nine-hundredth anniversary in 1083, through Viking raids, Norman sieges, tower collapses, plagues, dissolution, riots, fires, and closure under the Protectorate.


  1. ^ Millennium pageant: ‘Making All Things New’ (Ely, 2000), unpaginated.
  2. ^ ‘The Great Restoration’, Ely Cathedral, accessed 9 August 2016, http://www.elycathedral.org/history-heritage/the-great-restoration.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Ely Cathedral Millennium Pageant’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1277/