Traditional British drama in Japan
We have received the following letter which is both a plea for help and an offer of help. We have responded to the author’s plea for information but if any other reader would like to respond, email addresses are given.
I am an avid reader of your mailing list despite living on the other side of the planet and sadly being unable to attend any performances!
I am teaching drama at Nagasaki College of Foreign Languages in Japan. We have just successfully completed our Christmas pantomime, but I am already planning ahead to next year. Are there any publications you would recommend, academic or popular on traditional British drama? Else, in the next newsletter, would you mind mentioning my email address and asking your readers if they would like to send me any words of wisdom?
Additionally, if any of the troupes your are in contact with are touring Asia in the near future, I would be delighted if they could get in touch - I may be able to arrange events and accommodation for them at this end too. The British Council often helps with expenses in these cases and I can possibly wangle some money through our school budget.
When in my teens, through ignorance, I did not have any opinion of traditional performance. Ironically, living here in Japan I am an active participant in Japanese festivals and will be the first westerner to perform in one of the largest and oldest festivals in Japan, Okunchi, in two years time. I would like to communicate to my students the excitement and fun of participating in this kind of activity!
I would appreciate any help you could afford me.
Kozen Machi 4-1-301
Nagasaki City, Japan
Folk Drama on Film & Video
Our webmaster, Peter Millington received an enquiry from an English instructor at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. He was due to teach a class involving traditional English drama, wherein he planned to have the students stage for themselves a production of the folk play. To that end, he was looking for movies of folk play performances that are available on loan. Because the Folk Play Research Home Page gives no clue where to find such movies, he asked for help.
Peter was unaware of any movies that are available on loan. However, there are a few video clips available on the web, and there are some movies available for purchase from commerial suppliers and archives. At least one library in England offers a video for hire, although they might be reluctant to send it out of the country. These are listed in our Links Section, but the video material is scattered throughout the section. To help therefore, Peter has extracted the relevant links to compile an initial filmography, given below.
We would like to know about other folk play movies that are publicly accessible - i.e. on the web, from society or commercial organisations, held in libraries, archives, etc. Please send details, including title, credits, format, duration, supplier or library, etc., to Peter Millington (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Folk Play Filmography
- Soulcaking at Antrobus
Order code: SSAA001V, Leeds University TV - Videotape, 25mins, £30.00.
- North West Film Archive, Manchester: Culture and Traditions
Online Catalogue - Try searching for 'Pace Egg' (12 items) or 'Mummers' (1 item).
- Wessex Film and Sound Archive at Hampshire Record Office
Various late 20th century films and videos are available, plus the oldest known movie of Mummers...
- Hampshire Record Office: 2. 'Tichborne Mummers'
AV256/2/V1 - Silent footage of a traditional Mummers play, which took place at Tíchborne in 1919. Video for hire
- The Potterne Mummers
- Picture and description of Potterne Mummers, plus a link to a Real Player video of the 1999 performance.
- Icknield Way Morris Men: The Wantage Mummers 2000
Video clip of King Alfred's speech..
- Redcar Sword Dancers - The Greatham Longsword Dance
20min. video, and booklet "We are six dancers bold...": A History of the Greatham Sword Dance for sale about the sword dance play.
- Folkfilms on DVD-R: FF-108: Step in, Wild Horse
Folktrax - Antrobus Soul Cakers Play (1956 & 1983)
- Folkfilms on DVD-R: FF-1104: Walk in, Saint George
Folktrax - Symondsbury Mummers Play (1953)
- British Movietone News: Online Newsreel Archive [Registered Users Only]
This contains two folk play items:
- Story Number 91939: Marshfield Mummers (1966) - Follow Newreel search options and search for 'Marshfield'
- Story Number 2176: Old Fashioned Xmas (1932) - Thame Mummers. Follow Newreel search options and search for "Old Fashioned Xmas".