The Morris Ring Folk Play Archive
Article type: Features
In January, I paid another visit to this archive which is held by Ron Shuttleworth at his home in Coventry. Unlike my earlier visits, my purpose this time was specific, but it is impossible to visit Ron's collection without wishes to browse in view of the mass of material which the archive contains.
This collection aims to hold photocopies of everything significant that has been written about folk plays and related subjects. At the last count the main sections of the archive contained 2,717 separate items in 143 volumes. It is Ron's claim that within the defined parameters of his collection, it holds more material than any other which is publicly accessible! The collection is being actively developed and expanded and Ron is currently working on an Access database which will provide bibliographic details unmatched anywhere.
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In my experience as a user of the archive, any student of folk drama at whatever level of working would find the collection invaluable. In one place, one can find an enormous range of information on traditional drama either in original book and article form or in photocopy for the scarcer material. The archive contains enough material for a raft of MA dissertations and anybody considering a PhD on the subject could do worse than pay a visit as an initial approach to discovering what has been written on the folk play.