Start of St Albans’ festival of freedom

PERFORMANCES, street events and museum activities will be taking place in the city as part of the St Albans Magna Carta Weekend which launches the annual arts festival.

As one of the most celebrated documents in English history, the Magna Carta is often claimed to be the cornerstone of English liberty, law and democracy.

The first draft, which had a pivotal role in the eventual signing at Runnymede by King John, was revised in St Albans.

Highlights of the weekend include a lecture on The Rule of Law by eminent guest speaker, Lord Bingham, in St Albans Abbey next Friday, June 11, and the St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s performance of a celebratory concert in the same venue the following night.

The Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Maxine Crawley, will be leading a procession, including a replica copy of the Magna Carta through the city centre on Sunday, June 13, before a service in the Abbey by the Rev Nicholas Holtam, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

From midday until 4pm on the same day, the area around the Clock Tower will include DJs from UR Crew, a group of learning disabled young people who have built a regular following at the Horn. Storyteller supreme John Row will regale passers-by with tales from far and wide and local musicians will add to the atmosphere.

A group from Three Rivers District will be performing a selection of lively words and music from Land of Liberty, a new community play celebrating the establishment of Heronsgate, the village close to Chorleywood where a co-operative community was set up.

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The Magna Carta festivities will be brought to an end by TV historian Dan Snow at the Maltings Arts Theatre on Sunday night.

He has become a household name and combines scholarly insight with an ability to engage a wide audience of readers and viewers.

He will explore how the ideas contained within the Magna Carta have echoed over the centuries and why it is still regarded as one of the cornerstones of liberty worldwide.

Further information about the festival can be obtained by calling 01727 827667 and the box office can be found at 01727 844488.