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Talk – “Custom and creativity: the chicken and egg of folk performance histories” – Peter Harrop (LIVE on Zoom)

Talk – “Custom and creativity: the chicken and egg of folk performance histories” – Peter Harrop (LIVE on Zoom)

The talk draws on Peter’s editorial and introductory contributions to The Routledge Companion to English Folk Performance published last year (2021).

He will use examples of morris dancing, mumming and sword dancing to consider four broad points:

Folk Perf Histories image 2
Image John McGovern: (C) Owle Schreame
  • Firstly, an acceptance that these forms were creatively devised by people who thought they were a good idea at the time of their making.
  • Secondly, to consider how such apparently transient, migratory and inconstant forms so quickly achieved customary status.
  • Thirdly – both for better and worse – to acknowledge the role of Victorian scholarship and Edwardian popular thought in conferring longevity and romance on certain plays and dances but not others.
  • Fourthly, to seek out any special features of performance – associated with the customary and not often found elsewhere – that enhance our appreciation while gently prodding our designation folk.

Presentation for approx 1 hour, then 30 mins for Q&A.

Your host

During the 1970s Peter Harrop danced and acted with Monkseaton Morrismen and Folk Dance Club which sparked a lifelong interest in customary performance.

He went on to study drama and folklore, gaining a PhD from the Institute of Dialect and Folklife Studies at Leeds University. He is now Professor Emeritus in Drama at the University of Chester.

Routledge Companion to English Folk Perfermance book coverRecent publications include Mummers’ Plays Revisited (Routledge, Advances in Theatre and Performance, 2020); The Routledge Companion to English Folk Performance (with Steve Roud, 2021) and an edition of research articles by the theatre historian Philip Butterworth (Routledge, Variorum Collected Studies, 2022) Staging, Playing, Pyrotechnics and Magic: Performance Conventions in Early English Theatre.

To register

Please complete this online form: Register for the Talk – “Custom and creativity: the chicken and egg of folk performance histories” – Peter Harrop; you will receive a confirmation email immediately (check your spam/junk/promotions folder!).  We will send you a Zoom link a couple of days before the event.  Open to all – you don’t have to be a member of a team in The Morris Federation.

Optional Donations

If you enjoy this event, then it would be wonderful if you could send a donation, small or large, to Peter’s chosen place – The Morris Federation.  Go to this page and Click ‘Buy Now’ to donate by Paypal (opens in new window – enter “Harrop” in the description, and close that window when finished).  Or contact us (select Membership & Merchandise) for our BACS details – please use “Harrop” as the reference for your donation.


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