Traditional Mummers Play returns to Doncaster pub in December

Doncaster Mummers will continue an ancient Christmas tradition when they perform their Mummers Play in the town again this year.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 12:45 pm
Green Oak Morris have performed their Mummers Play under the name of Doncaster Mummers in the town's pubs for many years.

For many years past Green Oak Morris have performed their Mummers Play under the name of Doncaster Mummers in public houses around the Doncaster and South Yorkshire area.

This year the play will be performed at 8.30pm at Doncaster Brewery & Tap on Young Street, Doncaster on December 15 and Jemmy Hirst at the Rose and Crown in Rawcliffe on December 1.

Mummer Peter Heigham said: “Mummers' Plays are one of the oldest surviving features of the traditional English Christmas. Mumming in England goes back for over a thousand years.

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"Mumming is best described as early pantomime. The plays are based loosely on the legend of St. George and the dragon.

"It will be followed by a sword dance and then singing and merriment. At the Brewery Tap there will be a buffet for the audience and performers.

“Anyone interested is welcome to come to either or both venues to find out what it’s all about.”

Mummers' Plays are folk plays performed by troupes of amateur actors, traditionally all male, known as mummers or guisers. It refers particularly to a play in which a number of characters are called on stage, two of whom engage in a combat, the loser being revived by a Doctor character.

The plays are intended to show the struggle between good and evil.

Half a dozen heavily disguised characters perform the play.

The characters vary from play to play, although the hero is always St George, who fights with the power of evil traditionally represented by the Turkish Knight (boo hiss).

Characters in the Doncaster Mummers play include the Father Christmas, King of Egypt, St George, Dragon, Doctor, and some others, all dressed in their spectacular 'guizes'.

There is much medieval sword play in the play and usually one character eventually plays dead.

Cue the quack doctor who enters, performs a miraculous, albeit comedic, cure on the body and in the process neatly performs the symbolic act of reawakening the earth from the death of winter.