Traditional Drama Forum - No.14 ISSN 1743-3789 April 2009


Compiled by Eddie Cass

The James Madison Carpenter Project

Earlier this year it was announced that this project had been awarded its third tranche of grant monies by the American funding body, the National Endowment for the Humanities. This means that the six scholars working on the critical edition of this enormously important collection of British folk performance material can continue with their work until June 2010. It is expected that by this time, the first four volumes of the printed version of the collection will be nearing completion. One of these volumes, edited by Bob Walser, will be on sea shanties. The other three, edited by Eddie Cass and Elaine Bradtke, will be on folk plays, customs and the songs associated with plays and customs. The volumes on folk plays will be the most important texts ever published on the subject. Since the time of T. Fairman Ordish at the turn of the twentieth century, there have been discussions on a possible history of British folk plays. The planned volumes in this series will be the nearest to this objective we will achieve for some time.

Pace Egging in Burscough

Burscough, a town in Lancashire, was well known as the home of Emma Vickers who, with colleagues, performed her own version of the pace-egg each Easter. In July, however, the fame of the town was spread more widely. West Lancashire District Council attracted substantial funding for environmental improvements for what became known as ‘The Fairy Tale of Burscough Bridge Project’. This was designed and run by a team from BCA Landscape & Smiling Wolf led by Andy Thomson.

Credit - BCALandscape and Smiling Wolf Credit - BCALandscape and Smiling Wolf

As part of this project, a new pavement was installed in Wharf Square, Burscough, a pavement which records the town’s pace-egging past. The pavement was ceremonially opened by Bury Pace Eggers on Saturday July 19th.

For more on this ‘Fairy Tale, go to More information is available from Andy Thomson [thomson.a @]

Credit - BCALandscape and Smiling Wolf Credit - BCALandscape and Smiling Wolf

Website Updates

Thomas Fairman Ordish Collection Checklist

Ordish >>

A list of about 670 records of British & Irish folk plays, deposited, with the Archives of the Folklore Society, in University College London Library. They are filed by county.



John Beech et al (eds.) (2007) Oral Literature and Performance Culture
Edinburgh, John Donald, 2007, ISBN 9780859766791, £45.00

This marvelous book, the tenth volume of Scottish Life and Society : a Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, contains two chapters of interest to readers - ‘Theatre and Drama’ by Bill Findlay and ‘The Seasonal Folk Drama Galoshins in Southern Scotland’ by Brian Haywood.

Eydon Historical Research Group (2008) Big Marjorie and the Rector’s Bull
Eydon Historical Research Group, 2008, ISBN 978-095396554-0, £4.00

This fourth volume of Reports adds to our knowledge of the folk play in the Northamptonshire village.

Terry Gunnell (ed.) (2008) Masks and Mumming in the Nordic Area
Uppsala, Gustav Adolfs Akademien för sevensk folkkultur, 2007, 345 kr

This important book on Scandinavian drama customs, has emerged from the Masks and Mumming Project in Scandinavia which was led by Carsten Bregenhøf and Terry Gunnell and launched in 1999. In 2002, the project culminated in an international conference at Turku in Finland; it is the papers from this symposium which have now been published in the second half of this volume. The first half of the book consists of a report on the research of members of the original masks and mumming group. The book will be invaluable to play scholars with an interest in northern European dramatic customs.

John Hinks & Catherine Armstrong (eds.) (2008) Book Trade Connections from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries
British Library, 2008, ISBN 978 0 7123 5064 8, £25.00

This book, one of a series, publishes papers given at a Print Networks Conference, held at the University of Birmingham in 2005. Two of the papers were given by members of TDRG - 'The Printing History of the Peace Egg Chapbooks' by Eddie Cass and 'The Chapbook Mummers Play: Analysing Ephemeral Print Traditions' by Paul Smith.

Peter W. Thomas & Derek R. Williams (eds.) (2007) Setting Cornwall on its Feet. Robert Morton Nance, 1873 - 1959
London, Francis Boutle, 2007, ISBN 978 1 903427 34 7, £12.50

Nance, a Bard of Cornwall, was important in preserving the folk play in the county. This book has a chapter, ‘The Christmas Play of Saint George & the Turkish Knight.’


Aughakillymaude Community Mummers (2005) Mummers, Masks and Mischief : Augha Killy Maud’s Men of Straw
£13.20 + p&p.
Details: Aughakillymaude Community Association, Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, BT92 9JT.

Garland Films (2008) Derby Tup
£10 + p&p.
Details: The 'Morris' Shop.

A reissue of the 16mm film showing a version of the play from Ridgeway, Derbyshire, filmed in the winters of 1971 and 1972.

Folk Play Home Page   Traditional Drama Forum: Issue No.14   Cumulative Contents

© Copyright 2009, TDRG. Editor: Eddie Cass (, Last updated on 31/03/2009