Raising dead men back to life again, it’s the Knaresborough Mummers

Photo from their website

Photo from their website

Mummers’ plays are folk plays performed by troupes of amateur actors, traditionally all male, known as mummers or guisers (also by local names such as rhymerspace-eggerssoulerstipteererswrenboys, and galoshins). It refers particularly to a play in which a number of characters are called on stage, two of whom engage in a combat, the loser being revived by a doctor character. This play is sometimes found associated with a sword dance though both also exist in Britain independently. (source – Wikipedia).

To join the dancers, musicians, and folklorists on stage at the Nottingham Playhouse, we are very pleased to announce we have secured the services of the Knaresborough Mummers. Mummer’s Plays are one of the oldest surviving features of the traditional English Christmas, perhaps best described as early pantomime. The plays are intended to show the struggles between good and evil.

Photo from Ted Dodsworth

The Knaresborough Mummers were formed at Christmas 1974 by four members of Knaresborough Folk Club, held in those days at the Royal Oak, Bond End, Knaresborough. The intention was to perform a ‘one-off’ play for the Christmas party at the club. Richard Hardaker persuaded club organiser John Burrell that it was a fun idea and they sold the idea to two club regulars, Graham Bickerdike and Arthur Jackson to take the four main parts. Two other small parts were added to the Basic Hero Combat play, Little Devil Doubt and Beelzebub, enabling other participants to join in at short notice, the parts at first being taken by Dennis and Dominic Ward, then Dave Dearlove who was to become a team stalwart for the next twenty years. Due to the response other performances were arranged at local pubs over that Christmas. Further members were recruited and regular appearances started from Easter 1975.

To read more about the Knaresborough Mummers, please visit their website

Tickets going well – grab yours whilst you can – https://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/dance/dancing-england/

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