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Syracuse and Colgate Universities Stage Medieval Christmas Pageant

By Contributing Writer on December 1, 2017

Katherine McGerr – Syracuse Drama Department / 310.443.3180 / kemcgerr@syr.edu

Christian DuComb – Colgate Theater Department / 315.228.7993 / cducomb@colgate.edu

HAMILTON, NY – On Saturday, December 2, students from the Syracuse University Department of Drama will perform the medieval Second Shepherds’ Play in the Hall of Presidents, on the second floor of Colgate’s Student Union.  The play dramatizes the angels’ message to the shepherds on Christmas Eve, but it’s hardly a simple announcement.  The author uses humor to speak to key issues of community — unrest, fragmentation, thievery, charity, and reconciliation — that are as relevant today as they were in the fifteenth century.  With music, puppetry, and a fresh, modern-language translation, this performance will get the whole family into the holiday spirit.

For those with a scholarly bent, the show will be followed by an afternoon symposium with faculty and students from Syracuse, Colgate, Cornell, the University of Rochester, and farther afield to discuss the Second Shepherds’ Play.  According to Lynn Staley, Professor of English at Colgate, “this is a symposium where anyone can offer ideas, where we can talk about the issues raised by the performance.”  The performance and symposium are co-sponsored by the Colgate Arts Council and the Central New York Humanities Corridor, with the goal of engaging scholars and the general public in meaningful dialogue about the arts and humanities.

There will be two additional performance of the Second Shepherds’ Play on Tuesday, December 5, in the Loft Theater at Syracuse Stage.  Katherine McGerr of Syracuse University directs the show, with music direction by Hannah Shaffer and puppet design my Carmen Maria Martinez.  The text is based on an adaptation of the Second Shepherds Play by Lister M. Matheson, William G. Marx, and Robert L. Kinnunen.


Fact sheet for The Second Shepherds’ Play

December 2, 10:30 a.m., Hall of Presidents, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY.

Immediately followed by lunch and symposium.

December 5, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., The Loft Theater, Syracuse Stage, 820 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY.



Directed by Katherine McGerr

Music Direction by Hannah Shaffer

Puppet Design by Carmen Maria Martinez

Featuring the work of students from the Syracuse University Department of Drama



Get into the holiday spirit with a performance of the medieval Second Shepherds’ Play, a funny (and surprisingly timely) dramatization of the angels’ message to the shepherds on Christmas Eve.


To request photos, interviews, and more information, please contact Katherine McGerr, kemcgerr@syr.edu.

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