Some Mummers do have ’em

There is a long tradition in British history of Mummer’s Plays – folkloric parables, stories and satires – performed for the benefit of the working classes by mostly itinerant actors. Walsall has seen a revival of this very old tradition in recent years with the plays written by former Walsall Wood teacher and local arts supremo Dave Calcutt.

The tales are based on a mysterious set of historical artefacts belonging to the town called The Bayards Colts, and are performed by The Cart Before The Horse Theatre Company, consisting of lots of great folk including the irrepressible Glen Buglass, who does so much for the arts in Walsall.

My first experience of the show was at the Night Market last month, and the stories were hilarious and entertaining, and beautifully acted. There’s another chance to catch the first in the series of plays – Robin Hood and the Giant – this weekend.


A fine bunch or rogues… Glen Buglass and the rest of the crew carry on a fine tradition.

The show is in Walsall on Saturday 31st August at the marketplace at 11:00am, 12.30pm and 2.00pm. Inside the Black Country Arms nearby that afternoon local Zydeco group, Knocksville Highway will be playing live.

The last show of Robin Hood this year is on the following Sunday, 1st September 2013 at Bookmark Bloxwich, Bloxwich Library at 2.30pm. Tickets for the Bloxwich show are £5.00. All the others are free.

For details, call Glen Buglass on 07908 472862 or Bloxwich Library on 01922 655900.

Thanks to Stuart Williams, whose excellent Bloxwich Telegraph I purloined most of this info from…


What a great flyer! Click for a larger version.

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10 Responses to Some Mummers do have ’em

  1. JeepBoy says:

    mumms the word 😉

  2. buglassg says:

    Thanks Bob!


  3. David Oakley says:

    Takes me back to the early 1930’s when I was a small child, we had mummers then on Christmas Eve, particularly if there was a large party going on, we called them ‘the guysers’ .
    This little team would roam the locality, often with faces blacked with soot, armed with homemade theatrical equipment, swords, etc., At a chosen venue they would knock the door and the leader would shout, ” I open the door, I enter in” the rest of his rhyme would be repeated indoors, others would enter, singly announcing who they were, again in rhyme. I remember the leader, who ends up fighting St George, the doctor who administers restorative, and Belzebub. All the action used to place in rhyme, and a collection would take place at the end.
    Being quite small, the black faces and the simulated violence, frightened me a little, but the grown-ups seemed to find it good fun, and the event always ended up with laughter, handshakes and seasonal good wishes. I don’t remember this custom extending past my early childhood, so was delighted to read of its revival in the town.

    • Jimm Rennie says:

      That sounds about right David, it’s a great way of sharing stories and spreading a bit of fun and enjoyment. I’ve only managed to watch one performance of this cycle of plays over the last 12 months due to acting in all the others (I play Robin Hood in this one if you can make it to any of our performances).
      Very much in the traditional style, our leader is the Tat Man – purveyor of rags, scrap and stories; our fearless (yeah, right!) warrior this time is Robin Hood; our restoring medicinal provider, as we’re in Walsall, being none other than Sister Dora; our terrible foe being the Giant of Albion Gogmagog. With plenty of others to help tell the tale, songs about the Tat Man, Sister Dora and the best beer in town Bayard’s Brew it’s a brilliant way to frolic the day away.

      I feel I can speak for the whole company when I say we hope to see you there.

      P.S. Thanks for the great post Bob.

      • Hey, no sweat. I’ll publicise any of your stuff, but please let me have info! Sadly, I can’t read as much stuff as I’d like to these days due to time pressures, so drop me a mail, please.


  4. The Bayard’s Colts project, that includes the 4 new Mummers plays commisioned to form the Bayard’s Cycle’ is building a superb range of information, interviews , film., photos etc all available at the website If you want to get involved with the project or have information re displays , museum open days and performances please contact me

    Tony Kemshall Bayards Colts Project Director 07885 317 491

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