Traditional Drama Forum - No.9 ISSN 1743-3789 January 2004


Book Launch

Midgley Pace-Eggers, 1938The Pace-Egg Play, An illustrated talk by Dr.Eddie Cass will be held to launch his new book The Pace-Egg Plays of the Calder Valley at Hebden Bridge Methodist Church, Bridge Lane (next to Co-op on Market Street) on Wednesday, 17th March 2004 at 7.30pm

The launch is being held in association with The Folklore Society, Frank Woolrych, Hebden Bridge Local History Society and The Book Case, Hebden Bridge

The book will be on sale at The Book Case, 29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 6EU, 01422 845353, and copies will be available for signing at the launch.

Licensing Act Exemptions

John Bacon of the Morris Federation and Cliff Marchant of the Morris Ring, had a meeting on the 7th October 2003 with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to discuss the Statutory Guidelines for the new English Licensing Act 2003. At that meeting they proposed that mumming should be exempt from licencing under the Act, in addition to Morris Dancing (which is already exempt). They pointed out that many Morris teams perform folk plays during the Christmas period, and mumming often forms part of a Morris show (and vice versa). John and Cliff similarly recommended that any associated music sessions should also be exempt.

They received a favourable response, although the guidelines have to be reviewed by the Secretary of State, and then approved by Parliament, after which there is a six-month period before a nine-month transition period starts. We will therefore have to wait and see if the amendments get through.

We are sure that all folk play performers and afficionados will join us in thanking John and Cliff for their efforts on our behalf. More information and ongoing progress reports may be found at the Morris Ring web site

To judge from the number of performances notified for this website's Events List, the Licencing Act controversy had no adverse affects on the Winter 2003/04 folk play season. Those groups who informed us that they had decided not to perform this year all reported mundane organisational reasons rather than fear of the force of law.


Calendar Customs and Seasonal Feasts

The Folklore Society Conference and AGM on the theme "Calendar Customs and Seasonal Feasts" will be held on the 26-28 March 2004 at The University of Glasgow, Scotland.

At the time of writing (January 2004), the deadline for papers had just closed, but the programme was not yet ready. For further details, contact Dr.Lizanne Henderson ( or Dr.Juliette Wood ( See also the Folklore Society website -

For registration, contact Mrs.Susan Vass, The Folklore Society, c/o The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB, UK, Tel. 020 7862 8564, or Email Conference fees: Members of The Folklore Society £12.00, non-members £16.00.

Holidays, Ritual, Festival, Celebration, and Public Display

This is a call for papers that may be of interest to folk play researchers:

The eighth multidisciplinary Conference on Holidays, Ritual, Festival, Celebration, and Public Display will be held on June 3-5, 2004 at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA.

Presentations should involve original research and be analytical or theoretical in nature. All topics within the general scope of the conference will be considered. The organisers especially encourage proposals that deal with the public memorialization of death, and proposals that deal with political events and demonstrations in terms of ritual or festival.

The deadline for proposals is February 29, 2004. Titles, abstracts and speakers' details should be sent by post to: Jack Santino (, but first read the full submission instructions at

The programmes of some of the previous conferences in this series may viewed at glitch

We owe an apology for the unavailability of the web address for over a week towards the end of January. Although website was still accessible using our alternative (non-preferred) address - - it was a very inconvenient situation.

The problem was that the domain name registration expired. The normal chain of communication for renewal reminders had failed because of the untimely death of the Internet adminstrator at the University of Sheffield. Unfortunately, supplying the paperwork required by external agents to prove the change of personnel delayed the reinstatement of the address. They also levied a hefty fee.

The address has now been renewed for five years, and we are assured that this situation will not happen again (fingers crossed!).

Traditional Drama Forum

Eddie Cass has decided to stand down as Editor of Traditional Drama Forum. I am sure everyone will thank him for the effort he has put into the newsletter since it first went online. He will continue to contribute articles and reviews from time to time.

We therefore have a vacancy for a new Editor. Duties include soliciting articles and book reviews, communicating with authors, and gathering items for the News and Publications section. We currently publish three issues a year - January, Spring and Autumn. Material also have to be edited to match the house style. If you are interested, please contact Peter Millington (, tel. +44&mnsp;(0)115 9723237.

In the meantime, Peter Millington is the Acting Editor, although he already has his hands full with the production side of website.

Index to Roomer

In January 2003, we announced that Christopher Cawte was compiling an Index to Roomer, the newsletter that the Traditional Drama Research Group published between 1980 and 1991. We are pleased to announce that this task has been completed and the Index can now be used online at

Apart from an introduction by the compiler, it includes a cumulative contents list for the whole of Roomer, an author listing, and indexes to places, subjects and classes of performance. It is worth pointing out that the author listing is not just an index to the articles in "Roomer", but also a bibliography of the references cited in those articles. With over 1,700 references, this will be useful in its own right. Please be patient, however, because this particular listing takes a while to load.

We are thankful to Dr.Cawte for this work, which makes the contents of this valuable resource much more accessible.


Eddie Cass The Pace-Egg Plays of the Calder Valley
London, FLS Books, March 2004, £6.99, ISBN 0-9035152-3-7, 70pp, illus., bibliography.

The pace-egg play is similar to other forms of English traditional drama, but uniquely, it occurs at Easter, rather than Christmas. This book supplements Dr.Cassís The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play in that it deals with the one area of west Yorkshire in which this Easter play was widely known. It covers the history of the play in the Calder Valley and outlines the story of the revival of the play. Schools were vital to the revival and continuance of the tradition, notably the Midgley School in the 1930s and in the 1950s, Calder High School. The Midgley pace-egg play, which has traceable, personal links into the nineteenth century, is discussed at length. The book also considers the revival of the play at Heptonstall where, on Good Friday, large crowds come to witness one of west Yorkshire's most popular calendar customs. Texts of both plays are included.

Chas Marshall & Stuart Rankin The Return of the Blue Stots: An Aspect of Traditional Drama in Yorkshire
London, Dockside Studio, 2003, 56pp., A4, Price £4.95 + p&p

This booklet reports 20 years of research on the folk plays on the Vale of York, and their recent revival. There are numerous illustrations and texts, as well as tables comparing the plays at different locations. More information on the contents may be found in Eddie Cass's review elsewhere in this issue of Traditional Drama Forum.

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