Mummers Play

Mummers Plays (also known as mummering) are seasonal folk plays performed by troupes of actors known as mummers or guisers (or by local names such as rhymers, pace-eggers, soulers, tipteerers, galoshins, guysers, and so on), originally from the British Isles (see wrenboys), but later in other parts of the world. They are sometimes performed in the street but more usually as house-to-house visits and in public houses. Although the term mummers has been used since medieval times, no play scripts or performance details survive from that era, and the term may have been used loosely to describe performers of several different kinds. Mumming may have precedents in German and French carnival customs, with rare but close parallels also in late medieval England (see below).

The earliest evidence of mummers’ plays as they are known today (usually involving a magical cure by a quack doctor) is from the mid to late 18th century. Mummering plays should not be confused with the earlier mystery plays.

Ashdown Mummers Brief explanation of the characteristics and origins of the Mummers Play.

Beerfordbury Script to the Mummers Play of St George and the Dragon.

Celfyddydau Mari Arts Script for the Llwynypia Mummers Play.

Christmas Time Useful introduction to Mummers Plays, including a script.

Folk Play Script to the 1880 Symondsbury Mummers Play.

Miercinga Ríce Example of a Mummers Play script (adapted).

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature Entry on the development of the Mummers Play in history.

The Unbroken Circle Excellent factual information about the origins, characters, costumes and types of Mummers Plays.

Tiscali Reference Brief overview of the characteristics of a traditional Mummers Play.

William L Brown Modern adaptation of a Mummers play script.

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