The pageant is originally the movable stage or platform on which the medieval Mystery Plays were presented. It was built on wheels and consisted of two rooms: the lower was used as a dressing room, the upper as a stage. Later, the term was applied to plays acted on this platform. In modern usage, it describes any sort of spectacular procession which presents tableaux and includes songs, dances, and dramatic scenes. This sort of entertainment was fashionable in the early decades of the 20th c., especially in depicting local history. The annual Lord Mayor’s Show in London carries on the tradition. A recent and interesting example of a kind of dramatic pageant was John Arden’s Left-Handed Liberty (1965), a play commemorating the six-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.
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