Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) wrote Noye’s Fludde in 1958 to give children an opportunity to participate with adults in a miracle play with contemporary music.
The libretto of Noyes Fludde is taken from the medieval Chester Miracle plays, written at the end of the sixteenth century in England. These plays were performed by ordinary people: local craftsmen and tradesmen of the town and their families, with choristers from the local church for the children’s parts. Each Guild performed one play from the cycle on a cart (called a “pageant”). This cart moved around the town from place to place, making the story available to everyone.
Although Britten’s Noye’s Fludde is based on the Biblical story of Noah found in Genesis 6-9, the liberties taken in characterizations originate from the Chester Miracle Play.
For example, the bawdy behavior of Mrs. Noye and her gossips comes directly from the medieval interpretation.
Benjamin Britten intended that the Fludde be presented in a church sanctuary by an entire congregation. The first performance of Noye’s Fludde was in Oxford Church at the Aldeburgh Festival in England on June 18, 1958.
Christ United Methodist Church first presented Noye’s Fludde in 1977 to raise money for the Fisk pipe organ and subsequent performances were in 1978, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1998 and 2007. 2012 marks our 10th production.