Where: At venues around the Ashdown Forest area (see below)
What is it?
The World Famous Ashdown Mummers celebrated their 40th anniversary this year and are known internationally for performing their Sussex Mummers’ Play just before each Christmas. The mummers emphasis has always been on traditional performances in their local area and the Sussex Mummers’ Play tours the local pubs in the Ashdown area.
The Ashdown Mummers first performed their Sussex Mummers’ Play after a copy of a script was discovered in the old East Grinstead Library. Members of Ashdown Forest Morris Men and friends performed the play in various pubs in and around East Grinstead just before Christmas 1973. They have performed the play every year since on the last weekend before Christmas.
A dance was added to the play and this led to regular performances of less usual dances, including dances in strictly traditional Border Morris. The men take pride in their attitude to the dancing which differs from many groups because of their focus on keeping to the collected versions of the dances. This means no fancy costumes, no unnecessary fancy movements and above all no whooping!
The men have featured on CNN Worldwide News, been reviewed in The Guardian and have been one of the ten things to do at Christmas in the Sunday Times.
Details of this year’s Sussex Mummers’ Play venues in the Ashdown Forest area are as follows:
Saturday 21 December 2013
12pm at the Red Lion, Turners Hill RH10 4NU
1pm at The Sloop Inn, Scaynes Hill RH17 7NP
2pm at the Laughing Fish, Isfield TN22 5XB
7pm at The Hatch, Colemans Hatch TN7 4EJ
8.30pm at The Coopers Arms, Crowborough TN6 1SN
9.30pm at The New Inn, Hadlow Down TN22 4HJ
Sunday 22 December 2013
12pm at The Crown, Groombridge TN3 9QH
1pm at The Anchor, Hartfield TN7 4AG
2pm at the Foresters Arms, Fairwarp TN22 3BD
Performances are open to all. There is no need to book, just turn up at the pub in time to buy a drink before the appointed time. The play is always performed in the bar and anyone planning to eat at one of the pubs should book in advance.
More info: www.mummers.org.uk