Mummers were local people who dusted off a simple seasonal folk play, usually quite short and in rhyming verse, telling the story of a hero fighting a villain, the revival of the hero who is slain, with a good deal of humour and innuendo. Good prevails over evil and when the plays are performed in the new year and up to Easter they also celebrate the passage of the seasons and look forward to spring. There is little doubt that they hark back to very ancient rituals, and connect with other traditions the world over. However, the plays themselves, which are similar throughout rural England, can only be traced back to the 18th century.
The Langport Mummers adapt an old script, and introduce a few local and topical verses into their plays. They perform their Saint George play in pubs and Wassails at Christmas and New Year.
The Langport Mummers will be performing a summer play called King Alfred and the Viking, written in mumming style, by a member of the troupe. The story is set on the Somerset Levels where Alfred historically set up camp before his historical battle with the Viking Guthrum. Come and witness the burning of the cakes, cross-dressing, ancient music, a blood-curdling battle and magic! Oh yes there is!!!!!!
The Langport Mummers formed in 2003. A group of friends got together - artists, a printmaker, a stone carver, an ex-street performer, furniture maker and musicians ... wanting to revive the village tradition of mumming.
Sunday 4 May, 1.30pm outside Kingston Deverill village hall and 4.30pm outside The George Inn, Longbridge Deverill