The TDRG web pages are gradually increasing in number as Peter adds new play texts to the significant number which can be round there already. There are now 118 texts and fragments in the collection. However, the latest major addition to the site is a section devoted to the Alex Helm Collection. The main part of this section is a re-formatted version of the Inventory first prepared by Ervin Beck and Paul Smith in the 1980s. This material has been added "warts and all", as a prelude to a project to correct the inventory and make it an accurate research tool. Other material on Helm also forms part of this section, including a photograph, obituaries and a bibliography. We will be asking for the help of anyone who has worked on the old index and who can add to the accuracy of the new version.
Irish Mumming Festival
There is to be a mumming festival in Fermanagh over the week-end of December 8 - 10; it is being organised by Jim Ledwith. Jim has organised similar festivals in the past. At the moment, little more than the date is known other than the fact that there will be play performances by strawboys.
I am sure that everyone will be delighted to know that after a period of considerable uncertainty, there is a future for the National Centre for English Cultural tradition. The Centre was founded by Professor J.D.A.Widdowson, who is its Director. He has also held a chair in English at Sheffield since 1984. Professor Widdowson's contribution to the world of folklore has been recognised this year by the award of an Honorary Doctorate at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and by the award of the Coote Lake Research Medal by the Folklore Society. It is gratifying to learn that the University of Sheffield is to continue the department which John founded, thus ensuring that there will be at least one university in England offering folklore as a subject of study at all levels. In view of Professor Widdowson's impending retirement, the post of Director of NATCECT has been advertised, and we await with interest news of John's successor in that position.