News Release

Youth of the British Pageant

The British Pageant, held in Chorley Lancs, has been a roaring success, with visitors from all over the British Isles flocking to the Temple site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There, they are met by nineteenth-century costume-clad cast members, who share in cultural activities before they tell their story of heritage and local British history.

Among this varied cast of amateur - though incredibly skilled - actors and dancers, is an army of youth who flood the production with energy and spirit. On stage, the historical character George Cannon says, “As youth of the British Isles we honour the seekers of truth. We are the seekers of truth.” What better group to tell a story of faith and devotion?

Emily Cook, 11, from Chorley, is a member of the supporting cast, who not only acts on stage but dances and sings too. Before the show begins each night, she volunteers at pre-show activities, greeting members of the public who are visiting the Temple site for the performance.

Cook explains that the Pageant was so much more than she initially anticipated. “I knew it was going to be great when I first heard about it, and I knew I wanted to be involved. But when I started rehearsing I just really realized how much of a big thing it is, and it’s amazing to be involved.”

Perhaps most surprising to Cook was the idea that her religious heritage was so predominantly British. “It’s an amazing history, especially here in Lancashire. It’s been great to know how much the saints in the British Isles are really involved in our Church history.”

Cook said that her family had taken the opportunity to visit local sites significant in the story of the early missionaries and members in the British Isles: various locations in Preston and the surrounding area. “It was amazing to walk where those missionaries walked. It has helped my [belief and faith in God] to grow. To learn that these early Mormons went through hard times and to see the faith they had - I think that’s the most amazing thing.”

Cook’s favourite part of the Pageant experience has been feeling the “spirit of being together,” a sentiment echoed by supporting cast member Emily-Jayne Pearse, 17, from Leicester. She said, “It’s been great to feel like a part of such an incredible group. I’ve made so many good friends.”

Pearse said that she thought the production was just as much for the volunteers as it was for the audience, and described how fulfilling it was to contribute in sharing such an important part of her heritage. The audience, she said, is so different each night, and plays an important role in the overall energy of each performance.

Pearse was encouraged by her mother to audition for the Pageant along with her siblings at the beginning of the year. She in turn persuaded her friends to join in with the historical Pageant, one of whom is Warren Mitchell, 18, from Leicester. “It’s an amazing accomplishment to be in the Pageant, both spiritually and physically,” said Mitchell. “We’re doing our part, and we’re making history!”

Mitchell, who plans on serving a full-time mission for the Church when he finishes his A-level courses, said that the Pageant has been a spiritually strengthening experience. “I can’t deny that this Pageant is of God: there’s no way that me, with two left feet, could learn these dances in a matter of days!” Mitchell’s favourite part of the show is dancing in the popular ‘Gallant Ship’ scene, where early British Church members pack their belongings onto a cleverly assembled ship on stage, while folk-dance and jolly-fiddle music rings in the air. It’s an impressive scene, with Scottish and Irish influences and separate dance spotlights on the various age groups on stage.

Another historical character on stage, Elder Heber Kimball, says, “God trusts those who are young.” Truly this is the case at the British Pageant: the youth greet and host the public and make up the bulk of the narration of the show, leading the audience on their journey through time.

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