The Guild of Performers

Guildmaster: Samuel Sanskin, Baron Bowland

The Guild exists to promote and teach the Performing Arts (broadly music & drama) within the Society.
The Guild is led by the Guildmaster, who is ceremonial head of the Guild. The Guildmaster may appoint up to two Great Masters (one a Great Master of Music and Singing; the other a Great Master of Drama and Poetry) to assist him in the day-to-day running of the Guild. The Great Masters are appointed from among the existing Freemen and Masters of the Guild, and may be removed by appeal of the Guild members to the Grand Master.

Rules of Advancement

The italicised portions are commentary, rather then rules: nothing therein is intended to bind future Guildmasters.
An Apprentice is someone who has expressed an interest in the work of the Guild and who is acceptable to a Master or Great Master in the Guild as an apprentice. That Master will then be responsible for the candidate’s progress and conduct when representing the Guild or Society. An Apprentice may be asked to perform at a Society event by his Master or by an Autocrat with that Master’s consent.
To be an Apprentice all that is necessary is that the aspirant show an interest in the activities of the Guild and that they have found a Master within the Guild willing to have them as Apprentice. This is not to say that that person will be solely responsible for their Apprentice’s development, more that the Master will expected to assist the Apprentice in obtaining the help he or she needs. The Apprentice’s duty is to learn, and, at his Master’s request or assent, to perform in areas about which he or she has learned.

A candidate for elevation to Journeyman status may be proposed to the Guildmaster by any Master in the Guild. Acceptance of the candidate is subject to the approval of the Grand & Great Masters. The candidate must prove competence in three of the five skill areas listed:

  1. Speech; delivery & memory
    • Drama: comedy or tragedy
    • Storytelling: ideally both from memory and impromptu
  2. Song
    • A wide repertoire of “borrowed”/learned material
    • A smaller repertoire of original and improvised items
  3. Playing a musical instrument (including percussion)
    • In time and without discord; to several bears/measures
  4. Dance; teach and/or execute three types, including
    • Pavane and processional dances
    • Round dances
    • Linear dances, with and without progression
    • Set dances
  5. Special skills e.g.
    • Circus skills; juggling, acrobatics, fire-eating, etc
    • Legerdemain skills: magic and illusion
    • Puppet-mastery: hand, rod or string, with diction and/or music

The candidate must have taken part in three performances at Society events, including one at a Great Revel. The Grand Master, in consultation with the Great Masters, has the remit to confer Journeyman status on apprentices who meet the necessary standards. A Journeyman may be asked to perform at a Society event by an Autocrat or a Noble.
Any Master in the Guild may propose that an Apprentice be raised to the rank of Journeyman. The candidate is expected, under the rules, to show competence in three (any three) of the five skill areas listed. The candidate is also expected to have performed on at least 3 occasions. However, competence means simply that – competent ability, not mastery. A Journeyman is still learning (although they will no longer be under a nominated Master). They will be expected to be able to perform (within their competences) at the request of an Autocrat or Noble.

A Journeyman who has shown excellence in any two of the five skill areas listed above may be proposed for the rank of Freeman of the Guild. The Grand Master, in consultation with the Great Masters, has the remit to confer Freeman status on Journeymen who meet the necessary standards. A Freeman may perform at a Society event, at the discretion of the Autocrat, and may be asked to organise other performers by an Autocrat or a Noble.
Freeman status effectively confers publicly the Guild’s confidence that this person can perform on their own, without supervision. The Freeman may not only be asked to perform, they may be asked to organise other performers by an Autocrat or Noble, and they may also now go to Autocrats or Nobles and offer to perform.

To obtain Master status a candidate must organise, rehearse, present and, preferably, perform in a major entertainment, the terms of this major entertainment being defined by the Grand & Great Masters on consultation with the Masters in the Guild. Before being considered for Master status a Journeyman must have taken a major part in two Great Revels or entertainments, and preferably have written an article relevant to the Guild’s activities in the Society journal (Quill and Cauldron). Candidates must be nominated in writing by a Master to the Grand Master. The nomination has to be approved by the Grand & Great Masters, the candidates performance being judged by all of them.
A successful candidate for Master status will be made a Master of Music and Dance, or a Master of Drama and Poetry. A candidate may take Mastership in both branches, in which case they will be entitled to the title of Master Performer.
Please note that in none of this is someone expected to be fluent in every arm of Performing, and throughout it is expected that Masters of the Guild will afford their juniors assistance in whatever endeavours are going forward at a particular point in time.