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.Cass’s 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.
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.