Where: At venues around the Ashdown Forest area, East Sussex
What is it?
On the 20th and 21st December the World Famous Ashdown Mummers will be performing their annual Sussex Mummers’ Play. The play is performed in local pubs just before each Christmas and this will be the 42nd year that the traditional play has been toured. This year the mummers will be visiting nine pubs.
A mummers’ play is a seasonal folk play, performed by a troupe of actors known as mummers. 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 around East Grinstead just before Christmas in 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 unusual dances, including dances in the strictly traditional Border Morris style. 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 20th December 2014
12pm at the Red Lion, Turners Hill RH10 4NU
1pm at The Royal Oak, Newick BN8 4JU
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 21st December 2014
12pm at The Crown, Groombridge TN3 9QH
1pm at The Anchor, Hartfield TN7 4AG
2pm at the Foresters Arms, Fairwarp TN22 3BD
The 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