Traditional dancing and winter Mummers play draws cheers from audience
A record crowd of more than 400 spectators gathered on Boxing Day to watch Greensleeves Morris Men, Merton’s popular local Morris dancing side, perform their traditional winter Mummers play and dance outside the Hand in Hand and neighbouring Crooked Billet public houses on the Crooked Billet at the edge of Wimbledon Common.
Drawing cheers and laughter from the enthusiastic audience, the lively performance rounded off Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day tour which started in the morning at Alexander House care home, off Ridgway, followed by a midday performance in Wimbledon Village High Street.
Andrew Ford, landlord of The Hand in Hand public house, said: “This has been the most successful Boxing Day performance ever. There are 400 to 500 people here today, easily.
“Greensleeves performing here is a Christmas tradition; as usual we’ve had dozens of phone calls enquiring about the time of their performance.”
Greensleeves’ Boxing Day tour began (below) at Alexander House, off Ridgway, Wimbledon, a residential care home with 20 elderly residents that is run by Keychange Charity, a Christian residential care home charity.
Prudence Yates, a resident at Alexander House, said: “I enjoyed it very much; the dancers were enjoying themselves and I wanted to join in.
“I saw other residents joining in as well. I hope Greensleeves perform here next Christmas.”
The care home’s staff also appreciate Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day visit.
“It was nice. The residents enjoy the dancing and singing, they join in. They enjoy the spectacle,” commented Nellie, an Alexander House carer.
After talking with the care home’s residents, Greensleeves’ next stop was a short walk away on Wimbledon Village High Street where an enthusiastic crowd gathered to watch the lunchtime performance opposite the Rose & Crown public house.
Passing visitors and local families out for a Boxing Day morning stroll stopped to watch the Morris Men’s humorous Mummers Play (below) and traditional dancing before heading off to browse nearby shops or visit the High Street’s busy pubs and restaurants.
Dave Legg, Squire (leader) of Greensleeves Morris Men, commented: “We’ve had an excellent Boxing Day as usual; the audiences have been fantastic.
“We have been performing our Mummers Play for more than 20 years. There’s always a great crowd in Wimbledon Village. Everyone is in a festive mood and has a good time.”
For those interested in English traditional dancing and folk music, Greensleeves are inviting newcomers to join them at their New Year practice sessions; so why not try out Morris dancing for yourself?
The club’s first Friday practice session will be held on 11 January 2018 from 8pm to 10pm at South Wimbledon Community Centre, 78 Victory Road, SW19 IHN.
Welcoming first timers, Legg said: “If you want to try Morris dancing and join in the fun, why not come along to our first practice of the New Year? Everyone’s welcome!”
Founded in 1926, Greensleeves (www greensleevesmorris.org.uk) is London’s longest established Morris dancing club and has been based in Wimbledon SW19 for the past 36 years.
Beginners are welcome and inquiries can be addressed to the club secretary (known as a Bagman) David Cooling on 07500993993 or firstname.lastname@example.org
January 1, 2019