Step In



 
A new book has been written by local morrisman, dance caller and mummer Gerald Tween entitled ‘Step In’. The book, his first, has the detailed scripts of 26 mummer’s plays from Gloucestershire, and has been the subject of considerable research over the years by the author, involving numerous visits to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in London, and the Bodleian Library in Oxford, as well as collecting scripts from the many mumming groups active in the county today.
Mummer’s Plays are seasonal folk plays performed by troupes of actors known as mummers or guisers, originally from England, but later in other parts of the world. They are sometimes performed in the street but more usually as house-to-house visits and in public houses. Although the term "mummers" has been used since medieval times, no play scripts or performance details survive from that era, and the term may have been used loosely to describe performers of several different kinds. The earliest evidence of mummers' plays as they are known today, usually involving a magical cure by a quack doctor, and characters such as King (or Saint) George, and the Turkish Knight, is from the mid to late 18th century.

In Gloucestershire there are numerous groups performing their own particular play, usually at Christmas time, including those at Bisley, Cheltenham, City Of Gloucester, Gloucestershire Morris Mummers, Highnam, Winchcombe, Marshfield, Waterley Bottom, Stroud, and Tewkesbury. A highlight of the year in the annual performance of the Gloucester play outside the Cathedral on Boxing Day, which attracts a crowd of several hundred people, who usually know the words better than the actors!
Peter Cripps, chairman of Glosfolk, the organisation promoting our local folk traditions said “We are very pleased that at last the scripts of some of the many plays from Gloucestershire have been made accessible to everyone. We hope that schools and youth groups will start performing these wonderful plays, and help keep our local heritage alive”

The 107 page beautifully produced book is published by Vale Publishing Services ISBN 978-0-9514743-8, is printed by KM Reprographics of Gloucester, and is available from the author, price £8, or at performances of Lassington Oak Morris Men , or by sending a cheque for £10.50 (£8 + £2.50 p&p) payable to P S CRIPPS at 22 Severn Way, Apperley, Gloucester GL19 4DA with a note of your name & address. 
 

The author in costume! 

 





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