Ditchling Morris2017

Mummers

Mummers' Plays (also known as mumming) are seasonal folk plays performed by troupes of actors known as mummers or guisers. The word may have come from the German verb, ‘mufflen’ (to muffle up or disguise). The plays were very often performed in streets but were more usually during house-to-house visits and in public houses – get on, do it, collect and get out. Although the term ‘Mummers’ has been used since medieval times, no scripts or performance details survive from that era, and the term may have been used loosely to describe performers of several different kind of plays. The earliest evidence of Mummers' plays known today are from the mid 18th century.

They may have originated as a form of mime ritual involving a symbolic combat, death and resurrection, very often in mid winter when the life in the fields was quite and may have celebrated the death of the old and birth of the new-year.

Characters range from King George or St George, Little Twing Twang, the Doctor, Father Christmas, Prince of Peace, the Turkish Knight, the Noble Captain or Valiant Soldier. There may be many characters depending on the origin of the play.

Ditchling Mummers who were born out of Ditchling Morris have performed at the Bull Hotel in Ditchling on Boxing Day for over 25 years. They always perform a play from Sussex and attract audiences of over 300 people.

For more information, see: The Wikipedia article on Mummers