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Mummers’ plays were seasonal folk plays with the identity of the
performers concealed (kept mum). They had regional characteristics
and were passed on by word of mouth, the plays inevitably became
From the 18th Century, cheap printed texts that people could understand
became available, but we don’t have one. Ours is a “Southern English
Combat Play”. In this type of play King George, (the hero),fights
with Beau Slasher and Beau Roamer (the fools).
A Quack Doctor claims to be able to revive the dead and Turkish
Knight (the villain) needs to be taught a lesson.Trim Tram ( the
common man perhaps) does battle with Old Father Abraham, otherwise
known as Father Christmas, (who symbolises the old year).Almost
lost as a consequence of two world wars, the Mummers’ Play is today
enjoying a revival.
You could say the play is about death and resurrection; the green
shoots of the new year rising from the demise of the old. Alternatively
you could say the play is about some old men drinking a lot of beer
and making fools of themselves.
Traditionally the play ends with a character asking the audience
for a reward and the singing of a seasonal song. Please give generously
to our charities.Thank you.