Traditional Drama Forum - No.6 ISSN 1743-3789 January 2003

International Traditional Drama Conference 2002
An Illustrated Report

The International Traditional Drama Conference took place in July 2002 at the University of Sheffield. This was a very successful conference during which 15 important papers were presented on a wide range of drama topics. The programme also included a discussion on the work of Alex Helm in which the principal speakers were Christopher Cawte and Norman Peacock both of whom were colleagues of Helm.

Christopher Cawte and Norman Peacock

Christopher Cawte and Norman Peacock, who talked about their work with the late Alex Helm on the index that generated, among others, the indispensible "English Ritual Drama: A Geographical Index" (1967).

Christopher Cawte also spoke on "County Durham, the oldest known Sword Dance play text"

Prof. John Widdowson, retired Director of NATCECT (left), with the newly "doctored" Peter Millington. John spoke on "The Soldiers: Text and Context in Performance of Mummers' Plays from Change Islands, Newfoundland", and Peter on the "Textual Analysis of English Quack Doctor Plays: Some new discoveries".

John Widdowson and Peter Millington


Peter Robson and Mike Preston

Peter Robson (left) and Mike Preston. Peter's talk was on "Folksong in Dorset Mummers' Plays", and Mike spoke on "Reading Traditional Drama Chapbooks Closely: Evidence Concerning their Oral and Written Sources"

A brace of conference organisers: Eddie Cass, NATCECT (left), organiser of this conference, and Paul Smith, who organised earlier events in the 1970s and '80s, before moving to the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Eddie's talk was entitled "'Dr Carpenter of Harvard College': On cataloguing a major folk play collection", while Paul talked about "The Papa Stour Sword Dance Play".

Eddie Cass and Paul Smith

A full list of the papers presented at the conference can be found in Traditional Drama Forum No.4.

I am gradually assembling copies of these papers for reproduction, including a transcript of the Helm discussion. Delegates at the conference will receive the papers by right. It may be possible however, to print some additional copies of this record of the conference for sale to non-participants. I cannot give any indication of the price at the present time but anybody who thinks they may want to buy a copy can register their interest by sending me an email at I hope to have the papers ready by late spring.

Eddie Cass
Photographs: Derek Schofield

Folk Play Home Page   Traditional Drama Forum: Issue No.6   Cumulative Contents

© Copyright 2003, Eddie Cass & Derek Schofield. Webmaster: P.Millington (, Last updated on 07/10/2003