Traditional Drama Forum - No.13 ISSN 1743-3789 October 2005


Compiled by Eddie Cass

Mask Exhibition and Conference 2005

Ron Naversen, of the Department of Theatre, Southern Illinois University, originally wrote to us about this conference earlier in the year. We have now had an update for anyone able to attend or who wishes to express an interest.

Dear Mask Enthusiasts:

Thanks to all of you who registered during our early registration period allowing us to continue planning our exciting Masks of Transformation Conference. Registration continues throughout the conference with a full conference fee of $120 for Students and $180 for Individuals. Day passes are also available for $60 each day. The latest Conference Schedule and Registration information is available at or by calling the Office of Continuing Education at 618-536-7751

Poster for the Mask Exhibition and Conference 2005

The Masks of Transformation Conference begins Wednesday October 5, 2005 at 1:30 on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The exciting schedule offers a diversity of papers, posters, workshops, performances, exhibitions and mask related events for everyone to enjoy. We have mask makers, vendors, performers and scholars from Nigeria, Sweden, Israel, Uruguay, Brazil, Iceland, Greece, Bali, the United Kingdom and many parts of the United States and Canada coming to share their talents, knowledge and insights.

One of our scheduled activities is a tour of the Behind the Masks: Art, Culture and History Exhibition at our University Museum featuring a variety of cultural, historical and artistic masks from around the world. The Contemporary Mask Maker section of this exhibit features the work of over 35 exciting mask makers working in a variety of mediums including wood, leather, paper, plastics, fibers, metal, clay and mixed media. We will visit other mask exhibitions including Masks in Celebration, an exhibition of masks and mask related art by local area artists; Mask and Glove, an exhibition of over 200 masks and mask art pieces created by the students and faculty of the SIUC School of Art and Design; Masks of SIUC Theater, an exhibition of masks by students and faculty of the Department of Theater and Persona, an exhibition of mask related photography by students and faculty of the Department of Cinema and Photography.

The evenings will be filled with a series of contemporary and cultural mask performances including Ojetunje Ojeyemi performing a Nigerian Ancestor Masquerade; a Native American mask tale Matriarchs of the Earth performed by the Big Sky Collective and solo performances by contemporary mask artists Torbjörn Alström, Larry Hunt’s Masque Theatre, and Rob Faust’s Faustwork Theater.

There will be performance opportunities for everyone to don a mask during the Open Mask Cabaret hosted by Bruce Marrs and during our In Celebration: Arts and Ethnic Festival. This festival will showcase a Mask Bazaar with a dozen mask makers selling their masks and demonstrating their mask making techniques. There will be Mask Making Workshops for everyone to participate in including Jeff Semmerling’s Message Bearing Masks, Mary Copenhagens’ Alternative Materials for Masks, Carolyn Ferdinand’s Gourd Mask Making, Najjar Abdul-Musawwir’s Fantastic Masks, Hilary Chandler’s Animal Totem Masks, and Colleen Springer-Lopez’s Sugar Skulls.

The Masquerade Ball will feature entertainment by the New Arts Jazz Quintet, vocal renditions of classic songs by Lori Merrill-Fink and Jeanine Wagner, selections from The Phantom of the Opera by the Marjorie Lawrence Opera Theater, a Fashion Show of Masks and hourly Drawings for Masks donated by our fabulous mask vendors. Masks will be required to enter the Ball so everyone should pack their favorite mask and costume/evening wear for this night of masked festivities.

There is a Catalogue for the Behind the Masks: Art, Culture & History Exhibition which is being held in conjunction with the Masks of Transformation Conference. There are several essays by the Mask Conference presenters. It is available by contacting Dona Bachman, Director University Museum, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale IL 62901 618-453-5388.

Mask Conference Committee
Ronald Naversen
Hilary Chandler
Segun Ojewuyi

Mari Lwyd

Somewhat nearer home, there will be a day conference on Mari Lwyd, Saturday 25th February 2006 to be held at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans Cardiff. The conference will explore various aspects of one of the best known of all Welsh folk customs. In the last few years the Mari Lwyd has undergone a revival in Wales, and this day conference will bring together artists, performers and researchers to discuss the performance of Mari Lwyd and the ways in which it is developing inside and outside Wales.

For further details contact Dr Juliette Wood, School of Welsh, Cardiff University

The Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture

On Saturday 19 March 2005, the University of Leeds hosted a one-day conference entitled Dialect and Folk Life Studies in Britain: The Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture in its Context. The conference was intended to celebrate the launch of an on-line catalogue of the archive but it also marked the end of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project to make the collection accessible for the first time for many years.

Burning Bartle: An image from the LAVC Burning Bartle: An Image from the LAVC

The material in the archive consists of the archives of the former Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies, part of the University of Leeds from October 1964 to September 1983, and dialect-related materials, which predate the establishment of the Institute.

The earliest materials in the Archive came through Harold Orton, a dialectologist who came to Leeds after having worked in the field of English dialects at Newcastle and Sheffield Universities. Orton is most well known for his work on the Survey of English Dialects (SED), which he established in collaboration with Swiss colleague Eugen Dieth.

Papers delivered at the conference discussed various aspects relating to the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of dialect and folk life resources in Britain, and individual case studies introducing approaches to the arrangement and (electronic) description of multiple media dialect and folk life archives. Speakers included representatives from the Archives of the School of Scottish Studies (University of Edinburgh), the Elphinstone Institute (University of Aberdeen), the Museum of Welsh Life, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, the British Library, and the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (University of Sheffield), as well as representatives from the former Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies, and the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture.

The LAVC catalogue and related web pages including the conference papers are now available at

There is certainly some interesting material relating to folk drama in the catalogue, but our webmaster’s view is that the website is slow and cumbersome and poorly structured. But at least the material is accessible for the first time in more than twenty years.

Website Updates

During the summer, the following improvements have been made to the Folk Play Website:

Restructured Links Section

Links Section >>

Now with over 1,200 links, this section's contents page has been improved with more detail. Additionally, separate web pages have been created for the English counties and for the other main folk play nations.

Character Name Index

Cast Index >>

A character name index has been added to the Scripts Collection to facilitate the comparison of variant names, their speeches, etc. All words in the name are indexed. E.g. for "Johnny Funny", looking up "Johnny" finds the variant "Johnny Cunny", and likewise "Funny" finds two further variants - "Bibble and Funny" and "Biddy Funny".

Conference Paper Abstracts

Conferences >>

Abstracts have been added for the majority of papers in our lists for the Traditional Drama Conferences 1978 to 2002.



Max Harris (2003) From Iraq to the English Morris: the early history of the skirted hobbyhorse
Mediaeval English Theatre, 2003, Vol.25, pp.71-83

Martin W. Walsh (2003) The Traditional Mummers’ Play in British Political Drama: Edward Bond’s The Fool (1975) and Vincent Wood’s At the Black Pig’s Dyke (1992)
Mediaeval English Theatre, 2003, Vol.25, pp.177-186)


Ivan Knox (2003) 50 Original Picture Poems of People and Places around the Finn Valley Area

Whilst searching eBay Peter Millington found this item. It includes a poem entitled "'The Christmas Mummers Performances'", and the blurb says that "every poem has one or two illustrative pictures". It might be possible to find other copies of the book but I haven’t found it so far on abebooks!


Black Pig Border Morris (2005) Black Pig Border Mummers Play 2004
Only £10 + p&p.

The Selston Mummers’ play recorded live 17th December 2004 in Derbyshire at the Homesford Cottage, Whatstandwell; The Greyhound Hotel, Cromford; and The Fishpond, Matlock Bath.

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© Copyright 2005, TDRG. Editor: Eddie Cass (, Last updated on 29/09/2005