The City of Gloucester Mummers

PUBLISHED: 13:06 31 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:22 20 February 2013

We meet the City of Gloucester Mummers, who have been performing street theatre since 1969

City of Gloucester Mummers, with Squire Chris Burge

When was the club set up and why?

The City of Gloucester Mummers started life in the back room of the Ship Inn on The Quay, Gloucester in August 1969. The Ship was, of course, the home of the late, lamented Gloucester Folk Club and all the founding members of the Mummers came from the Club.

We wanted to revive the Mumming Plays of Gloucestershire, so we perform plays from all over Gloucestershire, depending on whether we have enough members; some casts are quite big and our membership at the moment is quite small.

How often do you meet?

It depends on what is happening and what performances we have coming up. If we are learning a new play it can be weekly, otherwise it can be once a month, as present members know the scripts which we are performing at the moment.

What are some of the benefits to being a member of the club?

To gain confidence and experience the pleasure of performing street theatre to friends and strangers alike.

To help preserve part of Englands drama heritage, make lifelong friends and visit interesting places (we have performed at venues such as Ragley Hall, Sudeley Castle, Colston Hall, Snowshill Manor and public houses all over the county).

What are the aims of the club and its members?

To collect, preserve and perform mummers plays from around Gloucestershire and keep them alive.

What is the age range of the group?

At the moment 2060+.

and do your members tend to meet socially outside the club as well?

Members often meet on other occasions such as folk and Morris events or ceilidhs.

Do you have any famous members?

An honorary member and our patron from 1970 until his death was Laurie Lee.

One of our members Les Griffiths has been Mace Bearer to the Mayor for the last 30 years.

What kind of person tends to join the club?

Someone who is interested in folklore and in performing street theatre.

Whats the most interesting story from the clubs history?

As far as we are aware, in 1977 the biggest event organised in the County of Gloucestershire for the Queens Jubilee was the citys St Georges Day celebrations which we organised in conjunction with Gloucester Folk Club. No less than 30 Morris, clog, sword and rapper sides took part with tours throughout the county in the morning, culminating in a mass display in Kings Square in the afternoon and a ceilidh in the Guildhall that evening.

and the funniest?

A few years ago while on a tour with a local Morris side, we were talking to the landlord of the pub we were in about the amount of space needed to perform a play, and the conversation came round to how small a space we could do a play in, and as things do when having a beer, the landlord bet us that we could not perform a play on the rug he had in front of the fire. Not being ones to turn down the chance of a free beer, we proceeded to do a play on a six-by-four rug and then enjoy a free pint.

When is your next event that is open to the public and potential new members?

Our next event is our 41st annual Boxing Day performance. Firstly supporting Gloucestershire Morris Men outside the Queens Hotel, Cheltenham, at 10 oclock, and then outside Gloucester Cathedral along with various Morris sides at midday with all donations, as usual, going to the Cathedral Fabric Fund.

If you would like more information about the City of Gloucester Mummers visit or call Chris Burge, Squire, on 01453 759921 or Roy Claridge, Bagman on 01242 512483.

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