Gloucester International Mummers Festival 2013 - Ron Shuttleworth

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Mumming is not acting: What is it and why is this important? Gaining the Public's Trust


In the mind of the public, an actor is trying to convince them that he is other than himself. When they view a theatrical production they are prepared to be 'fooled'. There are many other people in life who are trying to do the same thing - politicians, salesmen etc. - and these people are rightly viewed with suspicion. The fact that mummers are patently not acting may help to explain why, when we invade public space, we are often accorded far more sympathetic attention than we probably deserve. In aiming for more convincing characterisation is this sympathetic attention something we would be in danger of losing?

About the author

Ron Shuttleworth is the Morris Ring's Folk Play Archivist and a major figure in the revival of mumming having established Coventry City Mummers in 1966. At that time Ron began a personal collection which has developed into the Morris Ring Folk Play Archive documented and linked via He has contributed greatly to both the practice and scholarship of mumming and given generously of his time to other enthusiasts.

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© 2013, Peter Harrop. Webmaster: ( Reviewed: 30-Nov-2013