Throwback Thursday: The Pageant of St Margaret, 1914

SMS Archives, 2004-009 / 014, Pageant of Queen Margaret of Scotland.

For this week's Throwback Thursday we're looking back to the very early years at the school.

On, Wednesday, July 8, 1914, close to 500 people gathered on the grounds of “Fernwood,” the residence of Mrs. Pearce, to attend the pageant of “Queen Margaret of Scotland,” performed as part of the annual closing celebration and prize-giving at St. Margaret's School.

“The play, which represented the life of Queen Margaret, the patron saint of the school, was divided into five episodes, each commencing with chorus and prologue.”  Each episode had a different cast and the incidental music throughout the play was provided by piano and three violins.

The first scene, when Margaret was a child in the court of Edward the Confessor, included a country dance by “eight small Saxon children with hoops of roses.”  In the second scene, Margaret is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland.  She was attended by archers, “while the ‘wild men,’ “made an effective entrance through the screen of trees.”

In the third scene, when Margaret is the wife of Malcolm, King of Scotland, included a solo “A Spring Morn” sung by a lady of the Court, “while the chanting of monks and nuns gave additional color to the presentation.”  The fourth scene depicted the death of Queen Margaret.

In the fifth and final episode, St. Margaret’s School asks St. Margaret, “in white with prayer book and lilies,” for counsel and receives a Bible and the school motto, ‘Service with love.’  “The play concluded with the school song (composed by Miss Pownoll-Wright) admirably sung in chorus.”  

At the conclusion of the pageant, guests were served tea on the adjacent school grounds which were decorated with ‘a large Union Jack’ and ‘gaily colored lanterns’.  Everyone then returned to the “Fernwood” gardens “where the prizes were awarded by the Right Rev. Bishop of Columbia.”  The Bishop congratulated the school on their ‘fine pageant’ and “expressed hope that one day they would be able to visit the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford University and see the Testament of St. Margaret.”  He extolled the inspiration gained from the life of St. Margaret and the school motto.  Following prize-giving the school broke for the Summer vacation.

For a full description of the pageant participants and prize winners, see: The Daily Colonist [Victoria], July 9, 1914, page 2, column 3. []

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