Ashdown Mummers play in Crowborough

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A traditional mummers’ play will be performed at The Coopers Arms in Crowborough on Saturday.

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The Turkish Knight at The Coopers Arms in Crowborough

The Ashdown Mummers first performed their mummers’ play at Christmas 1973 and they have performed their traditional Sussex play every year since. It has been said that the play represents the continual struggle between good and evil.

Mummers’ Plays are one of the oldest surviving features of the traditional English Christmas. Mumming in England goes back to medieval times. The Ashdown Mummers conclude their 2014 season with a two day tour of popular Sussex pubs, including the real ale pub in Coopers Lane, Crowborough.  The traditional play features the well known characters of St George, the Turkish Knight, Beelzebub, Old Father Christmas and the Doctor, plus many more.  The Ashdown Mummers have featured in many TV news programmes and have been recommended as one of the ten things to do at Christmas by the Sunday Times.

Video of the Ashdown Mummers at The Hatch Inn in 2012:

The Ashdown Mummers first performed their Sussex Mummers play after a copy of a old script dating from 1912 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 at Christmas 1973. They have never missed a year since and three of the original group (currently St George, The Doctor and Beelzebub) have been in every performance!

A dance was added to the play, and this led to regular performances of more unusual dances, including dances in the traditional Border Morris style from 1977.  During a dancing tour of Scotland the title “World Famous” was bestowed on the men, having then performed in various countries, and ever since they have been known as The World Famous Ashdown Mummers.  After last year’s performances over £800 was donated to charities in the local areas.

The World Famous Ashdown Mummers perform at The Coopers Arms at 8.30pm on Saturday 20th December.

For more information see their website: www.mummers.org.uk.

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