The Bradshaw Mummers are a street theatre group, performing traditional and contemporary plays based on the medieval mumming traditions of death and re-birth and the triumph of good over evil. Although most of their scripts are written by members of the group, the performances combine both old and new with the emphasis on entertainment - presenting the plays to modern-day audiences while remaining faithful to the origins of a unique form of theatre including the blacking of faces, echoing the tradition that actors believed themselves cursed by the Devil if they were recognised.
Our Plays: For practical reasons, only two of the team's 15+ scripts are ever current. While the full list includes a handful of traditional plays, the majority are self-written and include such diverse subjects as the Battle of Trafalgar, the Civil War Siege of Bradford, John Bull, the Spanish Armada, Robin Hood, the Witchfinder General and Grass Green plus a wide range of characters ranging from Roman generals to a 15 foot high giant, an exploding dragon, an elephant with a fondness for buns and a rebellious boar's head. Our plays for 2014 are The Bradford Boar and The Armada.
The 1960's was a resurgent age for English folk music with shaggy bearded singer song writers meeting in folk clubs all over the country. Many men were involved too. One such gathering was the Bradshaw Tavern Folk Club, meeting at; well you may have guessed it, The Bradshaw Tavern in Bradshaw, a village near Halifax in West Yorkshire.
The club became like a family welcoming the top folk acts of the day to entertain on a weekly basis. For their New Years Eve party held in 1972 a Mumming play was performed by the regulars and, hey they enjoyed it and what's more so did everybody else.
For anybody who saw it and more to the point, has enough grey matter left to remember it, it will come as a surprise to learn that it was rehearsed. The amazing thing was that the players got nearly as much fun out of the rehearsal as they did from the performance. A plan was made to take the show on the road and so the Bradshaw Mummers were born.
Initially the intrepid players, wives, children and assorted hangers on looking like a bewildered group of new age travellers' gate crashed festivals and busked the streets of towns across the north of England. On the way they made many friends and some even invited them back.
The Bradshaw Mummers were very fortunate to have two gifted writers amongst their number, John Scrimshaw and Phil Lyon. Over the years many plays have been written and performed and the legends have grown. A pattern which continues to this day with recent plays having been written by Janette Owen, a Mummers wife.