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Traditional Morris Dancing




Traditional Morris Dancing















This allegorical play, America's Magna Carta (or Charta) tells the extraordinary story of why John Clarke returned to England to procure a new charter for Rhode Island. It is a fascinating story filled with intrigue at the highest levels of trans-Atlantic government. The play closes with a brief explanation of how John Leyland passed the Charter's ideals to James Madison, author of America's Constitution and Bill of Rights.


Rhode Island's Colonial Charter of 1663, now celebrating its 350 anniversary, literally changed the course of Western Civilization. For the first time in all of history, a sovereign granted church/state separation to a political entity; King Charles II of England, Ireland, and Scotland to the then diminutive Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.


A few months prior to the Charter being granted, Gov. John Winthrope Jr. of CT usurped 95% of Rhode Island's land through his own Charter. Together with Lord Chancellor Clarendon, Newport founder John Clarke was able to reclaim all of the land lost to Connecticut as well as to establish the extraordinary religious freedoms that America and many other democracies throughout the world now take for granted.


Working with extraordinarily talented actors has been so rewarding. America's Magna Carta is a community event, born of Newport and about Newport, written for families of all ages. It is free and open to the public. It is ADA compliant taking place on the front steps of the Murray Courthouse in Washington Square, Newport.


Actors include:

Tyranny                played by             Lindy Nettleton

Dreamer               played by             Kerstin Zettmar

Justice                  played by             Chief Justice Frank Williams (ret)

Hope                    played by             Mike Healy

Benevolence        played by             John Murphy

Providence           played by             Gary Martin

Charity                 played by             Commander Robt. Edenbach


At  the conclusion of the play, two teams of Morris Dancers will enact the crowning of May Queen Kerstin Zettmar with her entourage and the great revelry provided by two teams of Morris Dancers.  At approximately 4:00 pm, Commander Robert Edenbach and the Artillery Company of Newport will fire off a cannon salute to begin the state-wide Charter celebrations. The 272-year-old Artillery Company will use one of their coveted cannons forged by Paul Revere. Spectators must stand at the periphery of the Square as flames shoot 60 feet in front of the cannon. It promises to be a great spectacle for anyone who has not witnessed a colonial cannon firing. Word of warning, bring ear plugs, it is very loud.