Crookham Village Mummers

The Crookham Play

They are back, the ancient and mysterious tradition of Mumming will once again take to the streets of a small village in Hampshire on Boxing Day, Sunday December 26th.

The Crookham Mummers Play is one of England's strangest traditions. The play is performed every year in Crookham Village, near Fleet. The play has been performed in Crookham since Victorian times although its origins are older. ‎

Some of the performers dress in costumes made of 'tatters' - strips of wall paper glued to old clothes, other dress according to their role, for example the Doctor and Father Christmas.‎ The play lasts about 20-25 minutes. In it King George, England’s hero battling his adversaries, Bold Slasher, Bold Roamer and the fearsome Turkish Knight. The adversaries battle away with using wooden swords which often break during the fierce fighting. With dramatic action, jokes and some not quite Shakespearian dialogue, the play is great fun for all the family to watch. In addition to the basic script, topical jokes and adlibs ensure no two performances are quite the same.

The performers make their own costumes and props, and any money collected is donated to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

Long-time Mummer, Keith Woolley, says:

“The world is split into two sorts of people, those who have watched a mummers play and those who ought to. It is a bit of pantomime, a bit of medieval jousting, a bit of history and a bit of an excuse to have a few drinks on Boxing Day. ”
“Thankfully, if this sounds a bit confusing the play is performed outside of three local pubs, so you can have a drink while you mull over the meaning.”

You can watch the play in Crookham Village outside The Exchequer at 12 noon, The Spice Merchant, (formerly the Black Horse) at 12.45pm, The Crescent Green at 1.30pm and in Dogmersfield outside The Queens Head at 2pm.

Keith adds: “Going to see the Mummers is the perfect way to get a bit of exercise, have a drink, have a laugh and share in a community spirit and a sense of history. While it is free to watch, we are delighted that all donations will go to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.

Phyllis Tuckwell is the only Hospice Care service for adult patients, and their families, across the whole of West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire. For many patients living with a terminal illness, Phyllis Tuckwell is a way to get the most appropriate care in the last phase of life. They provide care at the Hospice in Farnham, at the Beacon Centre in Guildford, in patients’ own homes and in the community.

Post Scriptum

The Crookham Mummers are one of the longest running Mummers plays in the world. They have appeared in numerous books on folk customs, on ITV, BBC, Radio 4, at the Sidmouth International Folk Festival and are widely recognised by experts as the most authentic Mummers in the “raucous outdoor” tradition. The play has been performed in the village almost every year since 1870, although its origins are much older.

Phyllis Tuckwell receives just 20% of it's funding from the Government/NHS - the rest is from fundraising and donations.

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