A traditional folk play performed for more than 150 years has raised hundreds of pounds for cancer charities.
The Alderley Mummers Play is a light-hearted skit which has been performed from pub to pub by the Adlington Morris Men.
The play raised £627 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Beechwood Cancer Care after its actors visited several pubs – including the Cock and Pheasant in Bollington, the Church House at Sutton, the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth and the Waters Green Tavern in Macclesfield – this month and last December.
The 15 to 20-minute plays feature an outlandishly dressed cast and have a set theme of a killing, a reviving of the deceased by a quack doctor and a horse who causes mayhem.
This year’s plays even featured the grandson of one of the Barbers, the original Mummers, Nick Houseman, who originally enacted the play from around 1817 onwards as part of the Christmas celebrations at Alderley Park, home of the Stanley family.And by playing The Groom, Nick, 48, from Adlington, became the sixth generation of his family to perform the play.
He said: “I really enjoyed it.
“I was a bit nervous but got my lines right, more or less. It was exciting performing in different pubs. My mum came to watch too, she’s very keen on keeping the family tradition.”
The plays stopped in 1937 when the Alderley Park estate broke up but were revived by the Adlington Morris Men in 1978 with the help of ex Mummers Alec Barber and Fred Barber with more text written by Clement Barber in 1938.
The secretary of the Adlington Morris Men said: “I got interested when one of the Morris men bought some old clothes at an auction which someone said were old Mummers clothes – they weren’t, but it got me on the trail of the old plays.
“I love performing them, they’re a great, colourful local tradition with a cracking history.
“Everyone cheers us.”
He added: “The plays always have a good and a bad guy, a death brought back to life by a quack doctor, and usually a Beelzebub.”
The plays, traditionally performed at Christmas and New Year, also take place in other parts of the country and in the US and West Indies.
The Adlington Morris Men will perform for Lord Stanley in February and at Manchester Museum in March.