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Off-Season Folk Plays 2005 - Sidmouth Mumming Play, July 2005

Duncan Broomhead

The Sidmouth Mumming Play performed by Exeter Morris Men on Sunday 31 July 2005 in The Volunteer Inn, Sidmouth, Devon, during Sidmouth Folk Week.

Sidmouth Mumming Play 2005, Left to right (facing): Lord Collingwood, Lord Nelson, Doctor Ben & Prince of Orange
Left to right (facing): Collingwood, Nelson, Doctor Ben & Prince of Orange. (Foreground): King Tippoo, and Bold Slasher
Sidmouth Mumming Play 2005, Lord Collingwood mourns the death of Nelson
Lord Collingwood mourns the death of Nelson
Left to right: King Tippoo, Lord Collingwood, Lord Nelson, Prince George

The Christmastide performance of the traditional Sidmouth Mummer's Play lapsed nearly a century ago, but the full text, including the songs and reminiscenses, was recovered from Mr.Arthur Baker, in 1954, by Peter Kennedy and Win Humphreys. The play has all the usual features of Mummers' Plays, with ritual battle between good old English heroes and evil enemies, and miraculous revival of the slain by a doctor. The Sidmouth play, however, features a much larger cast of seventeen characters, some well known like Father Christmas, Nelson, King James and the Prince of Orange and others more obscure, such as Billy Buttons and King Tippo; only the Silverton text, with 22 players, has more.

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Gallery/Sidmouth2005.htm