The Meadows Mummers; tradition with a difference.

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(c) The Meadows Mummers' masks

Among the practitioners in this field are The Meadows Mummers. This Edinburgh-based all-female group have taken the traditional folk drama “Galoshins” (in all its various spellings) and updated it with a modernised and expanded script, written in rhyming couplets, while still respecting its traditional form and Commedia dell'Arte roots. It was associated with Hogmanay, but the Mummers largely perform at community festivals in the summer, so performances are open-air. Through collaborations with the Scottish Storytelling Centre, they have also performed at Tradfest , and are perfectly happy to play indoors at any time of the year.
The story of the play is simple; there is a hero, a villain, a sword-fight, and a miracle-working doctor who restores everyone to life. The Meadows Mummers also have a narrator who introduces the play with accordion music and punctuates the action with a signature tune for each new performer.
These are the key characters; there is no reason why, for example, the villain could not be backed up with a gang of lesser villains, or the Doctor accompanied by a group of learner doctors. It all depends on how willing the audience is to lose their inhibitions and join in!
The Mummers' policy is that costumes should be as uncommercial and as “dressing-up box” as possible, reflecting the practice that saw the play latterly performed mostly by children, and mostly using scraps and other found materials, to enable performance by players without much money. It is intended to let participants of all ages explore the sheer joy of performing without elaborate costumes or complicated sets, as theatre was, once upon a time.
To underscore the Scottishness of the play, the script uses Scots words wherever possible, while the costumes and even the props play with the idea that this was and is a play performed FOR the community IN the community, by (in this case) experienced but unpaid players.
The Meadows Mummers have performed in Edinburgh and across the Central Belt, with an international foray to Gloucestershire to be guest artistes at the International Mummers' Unconvention. Pictures and further details of this most unusual troupe can be found on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/Meadowsmummers.

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