Folk Play Scripts Explorer - Introduction

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Search for Lines

Do not use abbreviations or punctuation, and give numbers in words - except for Std.IDs.

The Scripts Explorer lets you:

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Search for lines containing specified words, phrases or strings of letters

  Folk Play Scripts Explorer Search Form showing the drop-down list of query options.

If you wish, you can use the drop-down menu to specify that search keywords should at the beginning or at the end of the line; otherwise the string may appear anywhere.

You may also search for a specific line type using its Standard Identification number (Std.ID).

The search results are displayed in a table such as this:

  Folk Play Scripts Explorer example of search results
  [n.b. Links are non-functional in this example display]
  • Clicking on an Std.ID will find all the major variants of that line - if there are any.
  • Clicking on the appropriate number of hits will display all the relevant examples of the line.
  • Clicking on 'Map' will plot the relevant set of results on an outline distribution map.
  • Clicking on a Google Map Icon icon will plot the relevant set of result on a Google Map. If you then click on the map markers you can view the variants of the line at each location.


View all the variants of a given line type

Folk Play Scripts Explorer example display of variants of a line type
[n.b. Links are non-functional in this example display]

The 'Previous Std.IDs' and 'Next Std.IDs' give the line type for the preceding and following line for each example shown. Clicking on one of these numbers will search for the relevant Std.ID.

Clicking on a play title will display the full script for that play, in a new browser window or tab.


See the line in the context of a script extract

  'Line in Play' is the sequential number for each line in their full play scripts, normally counting in tens. Clicking on the line number will display an extract of the script with the line highlighted in red.
  Folk Play Scripts Explorer example of a line displayed in context
  [n.b. Links are non-functional in this example display]


Plot distribution maps

Folk Play Scripts Explorer example distribution map
Example outline distribution map

The following example maps have been drawn from my paper on textual analysis (Millington, 2003).

GMap - George's Introductory Line Map 2
GMap - The Distribution of Slasher and the Turk Map 3
GMap - My head is made of iron. My body's made of steel
My hands and feet of knucklebone. I challenge thee to feel
Map 5
GMap - Beelzebub, the jolly old man Map 6
GMap - I am a doctor pure and good
And with my skill I can staunch his blood
Map 7
GMap - Beelzebub v Father Christmas Map 8

The following additional examples are drawn from my PhD Thesis (Millington, 2002).

GMap - Room, room, brave gallant boys, come give us room to rhyme
We've come to show activity upon a Christmas time
Thesis Map 9
GMap - How came you to be a doctor? / By my travels / Where have you travelled? "  Thesis Map 11
GMap - Here Jack, take a little of my nip nap / wiff waff "  Thesis Map 12
GMap - In comes I that's never been before
Six merry actors stand at your door
"  Thesis Map 13
GMap - The Naming of George in his Introductory speech "  Thesis Map 14
GMap - George the Valiant Knight "  Thesis Map 19
Folk Play Scripts Explorer example Google map
Example Google map output

With the mapping options, you can choose the colours for plotting locations on the map for each of your sets of search results. Multiple sets can use the same colour, in which case they are grouped together in the key.

You can optionally display columns for the lines' Std.IDs and for the approximate date of the earliest examples, if you wish.

Some scripts cannot be assigned to a specific location (e.g. 'North Somerset'), but rather than omit them from the map, they have be assigned representative generic coordinates. On the Google maps, the markers for these plays bear a question mark, and the marker captions say 'Imprecisely located'. Question marks may also indicate other uncertain locations, for instance for a composite version.

'Print Views' of the outline distribution maps are of better quality than those on the map editing page. The map title and key panel also display better. If you right-click on the image of an outline map, you are welcome to save it for use in your own publications or web pages, provided you acknowledge the source.

Permission to reproduce Google Maps may be affected by Google's Terms and Conditions or those of its partners. They tend to look favourably on re-use for academic and not-for-profit purposes. However, it is your responsibility to check.

For a case study on making the most of the Scripts Explorer's mapping facilities, see my conference poster: 'Mapping the Uncharted Territory of Folk Drama' (Millington, 2009).


View the full script at

  Example full script from




Peter Millington (1994-2006) Historical Database of Folk Play Scripts
Internet URL:, 1999-2006, accessed 1st Jan.2007

Peter Millington (2002) The Origins and Development of English Folk Plays
PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield, May 2002     [Extended Abstract] [Full Thesis PDF - 2.7MB]

Peter Millington (2003) Textual Analysis of English Quack Doctor Plays: Some New Discoveries
in: Folk Drama Studies Today: The International Traditional Drama Conference 2002, ed. by E.Cass & P.Millington
Sheffield, Traditional Drama Research Group, 2003, ISBN 0-9508152-3-3, pp.97-132     [PDF Download - 841kB]

Peter Millington (2009) Mapping the Uncharted Territory of Folk Drama
in: Conference on: 'Sites of Performance: Mapping/Theatre/History', University of Nottingham, 2-4 April 2009
[Abstract] [Introduction - PDF - 878kB] [Case Study - PDF - 874kB]

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© 2007-2009, Peter Millington ( Last updated: 16-Mar-2011