A meeting of the Traditional Drama Research Group was held in Manchester on Saturday June 12th 2004. At this meeting, it was agreed that a number of changes would be made to the manner in which we operate TDRG's website. First, it was decided to modify the name of the website from 'English Folk Play Research' to 'Folk Play Research'; it seems less exclusive. The web address will remain the same.
The second change was the decision to have the pages as a refereed site with an editorial board consisting of Duncan Broomhead, Eddie Cass (Editor, Traditional Drama Forum), Emily Lyle, Criostóir Mac Cárthaigh, Tom Pettitt, Peter Millington (Webmaster), and Paul Smith. There are two implications here; no new section will be added to the site without consulting the editorial board as a whole and research papers in Traditional Drama Forumwill be refereed by appropriate members of the board. Substantive changes to other sections of the site will also be referred to the board. The news section of the Forum will not be refereed, nor will routine additions to the site such as new links, the seasonal information on folk play performances, or play scripts, for example.
One strictly business matter discussed was the 'Rules' of the Traditional Drama Research Group. Whilst the Group has always been a loose association of people interested in aspects of traditional drama, our bank required us to supply a set of governing rules before they would allow us to open a bank account. The 'Rules' which we provided were a provisional document prepared by Peter Millington. At the meeting, some suggested modifications were made and we propose to publish these in these pages in due course.
Officers of the Group were elected as follows: Chairman: Eddie Cass, Secretary: Duncan Broomhead, and Treasurer: Peter Millington.
A number of projects were discussed as possibilities for addition to the site. These included, first, a list of all the papers which have been presented at TDRG Conferences, together with information on where these have been published. We hope to be able to expand this list by adding abstracts of the papers and, possibly, transcripts of unpublished papers and discussion sessions. As an initial stage in this proposal, Ron Shuttleworth has prepared a list of all papers given at TDRG Conferences together with information on where the papers have been published if, in fact, they have been published. The first version is now online at: www.folkplay.info/TD_Confs.htm.
Other suggestions for future projects included a 'Frequently Asked Questions' page; a 'Bulletin Board' for discussion topics; the inclusion in the pages of work by Paul Smith on Thomas Fairman Ordish whose important collection of folk play material is held in the archives of The Folklore Society.
Duncan Broomhead suggested that as it was twenty years or so since the Group had done any significant field collecting, it was time that we assembled videos of current play performances. Such a collection is important in reflecting the changes in style of some of the older plays. From my own experience, I know that some older participants in the Midgley play express surprise at how it has changed over the years. Duncan is following up this suggestion with plans for a video of a Christmas performance.
We hope that our readers will approve of the changes outlined here.