Mum’s the word for play


ATRA­DI­TIONAL folk play per­formed for more than 150 years has raised hun­dreds of pounds for can­cer char­i­ties.

The Alder­ley Mum­mers Play is a light-hearted skit which has been per­formed from pub to pub by the Adling­ton Mor­ris Men.

The play raised £627 for Macmil­lan Can­cer Sup­port and Beech­wood Can­cer Care af­ter its ac­tors vis­ited sev­eral pubs – in­clud­ing the Cock and Pheas­ant in Bolling­ton, the Church House at Sut­ton, the Har­ring­ton Arms in Gawsworth and the Wa­ters Green Tav­ern in Mac­cles­field – this month and last De­cem­ber.

The 15 to 20-minute plays fea­ture an out­landishly dressed cast and have a set theme of a kill- ing, a re­viv­ing of the de­ceased by a quack doc­tor and a horse who causes may­hem.

This year’s plays even fea­tured the grand­son of one of the Bar­bers, the orig­i­nal Mum­mers, Nick House­man, who orig­i­nally en­acted the play from around 1817 on­wards as part of the Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions at Alder­ley Park, home of the Stan­ley fam­ily.

And by play­ing The Groom, Nick, 48, from Adling­ton, be­came the sixth gen­er­a­tion of his fam­ily to per­form the play.

He said: en­joyed it.

“I was a bit ner­vous but got my lines right, more or less. It was ex­cit­ing per­form­ing in dif­fer­ent pubs. My mum came to watch too, she’s very keen on keep­ing the fam­ily tra­di­tion.”

The plays stopped in 1937 when the Alder­ley Park es­tate broke up but were re­vived by the Adling­ton Mor­ris Men in 1978 with the help of ex Mum­mers Alec Bar­ber and Fred Bar­ber with more text writ­ten by Cle­ment Bar­ber in 1938.



The sec­re­tary of the Adling­ton Mor­ris Men said: “I got in­ter­ested when one of the Mor­ris men bought some old clothes at an auc­tion which some­one said were old Mum­mers clothes – they weren’t, but it got me on the trail of the old plays.

“I love per­form­ing them, they’re a great, colour­ful lo­cal tra­di­tion with a crack­ing his­tory. “Ev­ery­one cheers us.” He added: “The plays al­ways have a good and a bad guy, a death brought back to life by a quack doc­tor, and usu­ally a Beelze­bub.”

The plays, tra­di­tion­ally per­formed at Christ­mas and New Year, also take place in other parts of the coun­try and in the US and West Indies. ●● THE Adling­ton Mor­ris Men will per­form for Lord Stan­ley in Fe­bru­ary and at Manch­ester Mu­seum in March.

●● Top, the Mum­mers per­form­ers re-en­act the tra­di­tional play; Above, the cast in 1920; In­set left is Peter Jack­son tack­ling his role

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