Traditional Drama Forum - No.1 ISSN 1743-3789 October 2000


News View alone
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The TDRG web pages are gradually increasing in number as Peter adds new play texts to the significant number which can be round there already. There are now 118 texts and fragments in the collection. However, the latest major addition to the site is a section devoted to the Alex Helm Collection. The main part of this section is a re-formatted version of the Inventory first prepared by Ervin Beck and Paul Smith in the 1980s. This material has been added "warts and all", as a prelude to a project to correct the inventory and make it an accurate research tool. Other material on Helm also forms part of this section, including a photograph, obituaries and a bibliography. We will be asking for the help of anyone who has worked on the old index and who can add to the accuracy of the new version.

Irish Mumming Festival

There is to be a mumming festival in Fermanagh over the week-end of December 8 - 10; it is being organised by Jim Ledwith. Jim has organised similar festivals in the past. At the moment, little more than the date is known other than the fact that there will be play performances by strawboys. I may have more details later if anyone wants to contact me by phone or email. ( or 0161 881 8640)

Souling in Cheshire

Duncan Broomhead is currently assembling details of the various souling gangs who will be performing in Cheshire this year. Anybody wishing to take part in this wonderful autumn activity should contact Duncan on 01625 827988.


I am sure that everyone will be delighted to know that after a period of considerable uncertainty, there is a future for the National Centre for English Cultural tradition. The Centre was founded by Professor J.D.A.Widdowson, who is its Director. He has also held a chair in English at Sheffield since 1984. Professor Widdowson's contribution to the world of folklore has been recognised this year by the award of an Honorary Doctorate at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and by the award of the Coote Lake Research Medal by the Folklore Society. It is gratifying to learn that the University of Sheffield is to continue the department which John founded, thus ensuring that there will be at least one university in England offering folklore as a subject of study at all levels. In view of Professor Widdowson's impending retirement, the post of Director of NATCECT has been advertised, and we await with interest news of John's successor in that position.

Sussex Tipteering View alone
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We recommend you visit David Staveley's website on Sussex folk plays, which you can find at This is an excellent illustrated county guide, currently with 18 texts, external links to the websites of Sussex Mummers Groups, and a bibliography. The introduction covers the history of the plays in Sussex, and compares the different versions. In book form, it would sit comfortably beside the regional guides published by the Guizer Press.

David drew on earlier unpublished work by Dennis Outred of Ditchling Mummers. The site is aimed at a general audience, so it lacks the exhaustive references to fragments and snippets found in the more academic guides published by the TDRG. Nonetheless it is a valuable and very accessible source of information. Furthermore, the plays are only one of David Staveley's interests. If you go to his "Sussex Main Page" you will find similar pages on Sussex folkore and archaeology, including beliefs surrounding the Long Man of Wilmington, megaliths, and so on.

Peter Millington

Publications View alone
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Two new publications are currently available from NATCECT at the University of Sheffield,

Georgina Boyes, Michael J. Preston and Paul Smith (1999) Chapbooks and Traditional Drama, Part II. Christmas Rhyme Books
Sheffield, NATCECT, University of Sheffield, 1999) (6)*

Michael J. Preston and Paul Smith (1999) 'A petygree of the plouboys oR modes dancers songs' The Morris dance at Revesby: A Facsimile of the 1779 Manuscript in the Lincolnshire Archives
Sheffield, NATCECT, University of Sheffield, 1999) (6)*

Traditional Drama Studies, 1996, Vol.4 (4.50)* has also recently been published and this contains three papers:

The Folklore Society has just published another volume in the continuing bibliographical series:

Eddie Cass, Michael J. Preston and Paul Smith (2000) 'The English Mumming Play. An introductory bibliography'
London, Folklore Society, 2000 . (4.50 plus postage from both the Folklore Society and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library)

Ray Cashman (2000) 'Mumming with the Neighbours in West Tyrone'
Journal of Folklore Research, January-April 2000, Vol. 37, No 1

Ray Cashman (2000) 'Christmas Mumming Today in Northern Ireland'
Midwestern Folklore, Spring 2000, Vol. 26, No. 1

In October, The Institute of Irish Studies, 8 Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast BT9 6AW will publish a Festschrift entitled: 'From Corrib to Cultra. Folklife Essays in Honour of Alan Gailey'. One of the papers will be:

Paul Smith and Michael J. Preston (2000) 'The Christmas Rhyme Chapbook Tradition in Ireland'
In: 'From Corrib to Cultra. Folklife Essays in Honour of Alan Gailey'
Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies, 2000, ISBN 0-85389-770-0 (hardback 25) and ISBN 0-85389-765-4 (paperback 9.50)

* Postage on books published by NATCECT is at their standard rates which are given on our website at

Call for Editorial Material View alone
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Some time ago, Peter Millington and I suggested that whilst it was no longer feasible to produce Roomer in hard copy, we would try and produce an electronic version which we suggested calling Traditional Drama Forum. At the same time, we asked if anyone had any contributions to this new traditional drama vehicle. So far, we have received no response. We hope that if we update you with what is happening on the TDRG web site, we may be able to elicit a piece from you to add to the dialogue.

We do not wish this to become a Peter and Eddie show, so do let us have news views and anything to do with traditional drama for inclusion in future numbers of this news and views sheet. Contributions should be sent to Eddie Cass at

Eddie Cass

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