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Bath Unconvention Symposium 2011 - Peter Millington & Caspar James

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'Mummies and Masquerades: English and Caribbean Connections'

Abstract

The composite mumming play script that the Ecclesfield-based Victorian children's author Juliana Horatia Ewing published in 1884 found its way to St Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean, where it was it was taken up enthusiastically by the black population as one of its Christmas Sports. The Mummies continue to act (and dance) to this day. Economic migrants took the Christmas Sports in turn to the Dominican Republic, in particular around the town of San Pedro de Macoris, where the performers recently gained a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Award.

St.David challenges Slasher - Mummies on St Kitts Guloyas in the Dominican Republic
Left: St.David challenges Slasher - Mummies on St Kitts. Right: Guloyas in the Dominican Republic

This presentation will be based around two recently-made videos. Peter Millington will introduce Ewing's play, and footage of the St Kitts Mummies and the Bull Play filmed by Joan McMurray. Caspar James will continue the story by introducing footage of the related tradition from the Dominican Republic called the Wild Indians in English and Los Guloyas (the Goliaths) in Spanish. [Full PDF - 1.67MB]

About the authors

Peter Millington has been researching British and Irish folk drama for 40 years, and gained his PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2002 for his thesis The Origins and Development of English Folk Plays. He founded the Traditional Drama Research Group's website http://www.folkplay.info/, and currently runs the Master Mummers website http://www.mastermummers.org/.

Caspar James is a musicologist with an MA in Religious Studies. He is based in Norwich, and has a particular interest in the music and traditions of the Caribbean. He runs Culture Crossroads - http://www.culturecrossroads.co.uk/. He has recently spent time conducting field research in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and nearby islands.

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© 2011, Peter Millington & Caspar James. Webmaster: (peter.millington@mastermummers.org). Last updated: 23-Aug-2013