Mummers plays, and other seasonal folk plays, are performed by a groups of actors, called mummers or guisers, disguise being a significant feature of performances. They can broadly be described as sword, wooing or hero-combat - or any combination of these! Many Morris sides also perform mummers plays, or have members who perform with the local mummers team.
Some plays are ancient, such as the 200 year old Alderley Mummers play performed since 1978 by The Adlington Morris Men (known as the Adlington Mummers). Others are absolutely contemporary, such as those performed by the Broadside Mummers who create a new, usually outrageous play most years (well supported by Victory Morris).
Mumming has been described as:
"Once seen, never forgiven"
"One line, often forgotten"
The Yateley Morris Men have been performing the Bramshill play on Yateley's church green since time immoral ...
Go to our Traditional Events pages - many plays are performed around Christmas - including Twelfth Night plays and Old Christmas day performances. January also sees Plough Plays, another version of mumming, and St George's day often features a play.
.... and much more information about Mummers plays can be found on Wikipedia.
Mumming on the Web
See the Mumming Archive: Ron Shuttleworth's archive of mumming plays.
Peter Millington's Mystery History : The Origins of British Mummers' Plays
See also the Folk Play Research Site and Master Mummers, as well as the electronic version of the Cawte, Helm, and Peacock English Ritual Drama (ERD). For the ERD, Peter Millington writes:
“ This is an electronic version of the book English Ritual Drama (ERD), published by Christopher Cawte, Alex Helm and Norman Peacock in 1967, together with three later supplements published by Cawte. It remains one of the best guides to the literature on English folk drama, assisting the location of scripts and other primary information. It lists over 1,500 places where traditional plays were performed, backed up with a bibliography of over 800 references. This edition merges the supplements with the original listings, provides enhanced features, and updates the introductory chapters. ”