Logo of the Traditional Drama Research Group

Folk Plays - Christmas 2003 - Ryknild Rabble

Clive Robinson

Ryknild Rabble performing the Armitage Play, 11th December in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England

Ryknild Rabble, Waiting to perform
Waiting to perform
Left to Right: Doctor, Enter In, Turkish Champion, Mrs.Beelzebub & King George
It is a common feature of the local Staffordshire plays to have a 'Mrs' Beelzebub, a man dressed as a 'grotesque' woman. - A touch of the pantomime dame.
Ryknild Rabble, The 'miraculous' cure
The 'miraculous' cure
Left to Right - King George, Turkish Champion, the Doctor & Enter In

Ryknild Rabble performed in the streets of Lichfield, as part of the late night shopping entertainment, and later in the Kings Head pub.

The words used for the Armitage Play were collected locally and published by Alex Helm. The play was revived by the Lichfield Morris Men in the late 1970's. This group later changed their name to the Armitage Mummers, and regularly performed the play in Armitage on New Years Day. From contacts in the village, Tom Conway, the original source for Alex Helm was traced and we went and performed the play for him in his house. He was very pleased to see it performed and did give us an extra line for the Doctor's speech. Another year, when performing the play we noticed an old boy in the corner, who was saying the words with us. It turned out that he had performed the play an a boy and as he was the 'one with the reading and writing, he learnt the other boys their lines'. This indicates two things, one, that there was a boys team and secondly, somewhere, somebody had written the play down in the past.

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Gallery/RyknildRabble2003.htm