Madrigal Dinners are Renaissance styled feasts just like King Henry the Eighth might have enjoyed. the feasts are colorful events with pageantry, food, music, and entertainment. Madrigal Dinners are renaissance styled feasts, just like the infamous King Henry the Eighth might have enjoyed with his royal court The feasts of Merrie Olde England were like grand pageants, with colorful costumes and merriment,. Merry laughter, music, song and feasting are abundant during a Madrigal Dinner.
Madrigal Dinners are events that are fun to participate in and attend during the holidays. The guests’ role is to sit, enjoy their meal and have fun getting into the spirit of the event. I have been to Madrigal dinners produced by a local high schools and college I have also been to a Madrigal dinner that was professionally produced in England, that took place in a fifteenth century castle. Every one of them was unique and enjoyable.
The colorfully costumed actors include a king, queen, and members of their royal court. They have a scripted story that is acted out during the course of the meal. The play has a playful, comedic nature. The costumed serving wenches carry in the platters of food, lifted high over their heads, serving the guests food that may have been served at a banquet in the middle ages. Food may include chicken, port, plum pudding. Wassail, which is a warm drink, is served during the drinks course.
Entertainment actively surrounds the guests, before, after, and during the entire meal. The performers may included a Court Jester , jugglers, magicians, acrobats, and Minstrels. The entertainment varies at Madrigal Dinners. The atmosphere is festive and raucous, the air filled with the sounds of revelry and laughter.
For a unique holiday feast, look for a Madrigal Dinner in your area. I did an Internet search and found some Madrigal Dinners in Illinois:
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois 61790
November 29 to December 15
Call for dates and time, eleven performances.
The Central Illinois University is celebrating the fifty first anniversary of their well regarded Madrigal Dinner. The Madrigal Dinners attract about 7,000 people, many of whom make the dinner an annual tradition. The menu includes: spice wassail, green salad, cranberries and chevre, Madrigal bread with honey butter, herb crusted Cornish hens, roasted red bliss potatoes, green beans almondine, and warm Figgie pudding with rum raisin sauce. Wine will be available for purchase. Tickets for the performance and dinner are $35.00 and can be ordered at the Bone Student Center Box Office at 309-438-5444, in person and through Ticketmaster.
Preston Bradley Hall
Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington Street
December 17, 2006, 2:00 PM
Illinois State’s Madrigal Dinner in Chicago takes place on December 17. The four course meal includes a beverage, salad, principle course, and dessert. The beverages are hot cider, iced tea, white wine, red wine. The first course is a Canterbury Salad of mixed greens and fruit. The principle course Will be Queen Elizabeth’s Chicken Wild Rice Wellington with root vegetables. Dessert includes royal Figgie pudding with coffee or tea. The event is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Chicogourmets.Tickets to the feast are $75.00.
The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, Illinois 60532
Performances on December 3, 10, 17
Thr celebratory feast takes place in the Court of Queen Elizabeth. A delectable dinner with entertainment by royalty and their cast of characters. Interactive drama with feast, song, and dance. Tickets are $60.00 for a festive experience in a beautiful location.
Lincoln Land Community College
Student Union of Menard Hall
LLCC Main Campus
5250 Shepherd Road
December 8, 9 at 5:00 PM and on December 10 at 7:00 PM
Lincoln Land Community College 28th Annual Christmas Madrigal Dinner will be held in the Student Union. Seating is limited so call ahead. The meal will consist of wassail, cheeses, soup, roasted chicken, vegetables, English Pound cake, coffee and tea. Tickets are $25.00 each.
In addition to these performances I found Madrigal Dinners at High Schools in Barrington, Crystal Lake and Antioch. If I spent more time looking, I am sure there would be many more local performances.
If you enjoy Renaissance Faires and Medieval Times, you will also enjoy Madrigal Dinners. If you are looking for a unique event to enjoy for the holiday season, I suggest going to a Madrigal Dinner, which is fun, festive and gives you a glimpse back into past times.