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Performing Arts

The spirit of the minstrels and bards is alive and well in the Society! One of the images that comes to mind when we think about the Middle Ages is the image of a troubadour singing lively songs and telling thrilling tales of battles. That tradition continues in the Society today!

Vocal and Instrumental Music

IMG_5511Bards and minstrels of the SCA perform a wide variety of music from the Middle Ages, from sprightly Renaissance dancing tunes to beautiful, medieval choral works and everything in between. Our performers also write and perform a great deal of original music composed in the spirit of the Middle Ages, ranging from marching anthems for their kingdoms to bardic ballads about beloved figures. The voice has been used in performance for thousands of years and many of the instruments that we still play today have their roots in the medieval ensemble. It is not uncommon to hear the strings of a guitar or the lilt of a recorder around any given campfire.

One of the things I love best about performing arts in the SCA is the bardic circle at events. After the fighting is done, and the feast hall is cleaned, folks will gather to celebrate the best about the SCA in songs, stories and poems. Some might be about those who came before us, while others might be from period sources, but it matters not if you are a “Barbara Streisand” or a “Jerry Lewis” type–anyone is welcome and everyone gets to perform if they want to! Come join the circle one night! — Baroness Flannait inghean ui h’Eighnigh

Storytelling and Oration

The concept of the storyteller held a prominent role in both the entertainment and the education of people in the Middle Ages. The bards and skalds of old were the keepers of their cultures’ histories and legends. In the SCA, many performers dedicate themselves to collecting the tales of both the historical Middle Ages and the Current Middle Ages and recounting them over feast and campfire. Whether through prose or verse, you can always find a bard willing to share a bit of Beowulf or tell a tale from the latest war.


middle eastern dance at pennsicDance is one of the most popular pastimes in the Society. We are fortunate to have documents from the Middle Ages that not only give us the music for the popular songs of the day but also steps to dance to them! The dances that we recreate have a wide variety of styles and levels of difficulty, ranging from simple circle dances with only a few steps, to rhythmic dances from the Middle East, to complex Italian dances with dozens of steps. Don’t worry if you have two left feet, a lot of these dances are easier than the Hokey Pokey!

Dancing is taught at dance practices (held by some local groups) or at SCA events, and grand balls are held where you can learn new steps and dance the night away!

Even More Performing Arts

Many other performing arts from the Middle Ages can be found in the Society, from juggling and magic to theater and Commedia dell’Arte! You can be a medieval star in the Society!

If you’re interested in learning more about the performing arts, contact the Arts and Sciences Officer of your nearest branch to find out when and where classes and workshops are held!