They perform the traditional Mummers play and dance on Boxing Day
Several hundred 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, SW19.
Blessed with a winter’s day blue sky, the packed performance rounded off Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day tour which started in the morning at Alexander House care home, off Ridgway, followed by a lunchtime performance in Wimbledon Village High Street.
“It was brilliant. There were 200 to 300 people here today. We were blessed with the weather and there was a nice atmosphere,” commented Andrew Ford, landlord of The Hand in Hand public house.
“Greensleeves performing here is a Christmas tradition for us. We receive a lot of complements from customers about the Morris dancing.
“There are a lot of regular customers today and some newbies. We have sold out of mulled wine; I’ve just sold 100 cups in the last hour.
“People come from miles to watch, not just from Wimbledon – there are people from Sutton, Kingston, Dulwiich, New Malden, Streatham, Merton and further away.”
Greensleeves’ started their Boxing Day tour at Alexander House, off Ridgway, SW19, a residential care home with 20 elderly residents that is run by Keychange Charity, a Christian residential care home charity.
“It was a good knees up; everyone enjoyed the music and dancing. Everyone was in a good mood,” said Elsie Clifford, a resident at Alexander House.
The care home’s residents as well as staff look forward to Greensleeves’ annual visit.
“We asked the residents and they really enjoyed it – the dancing, the colour of the costumes and the singing. The staff enjoyed it as well,” said Katherine Perez, a carer at Alexander House.
Moving on to nearby Wimbledon Village High Street, Greensleeves entertained an enthusiastic crowd with their noontime performance opposite the Rose & Crown public house.
Families and passersby out for a Boxing Day morning stroll gathered to watch before heading off to browse the village High Street shops on the first day of the winter season sales.
“We’ve had a good Boxing Day. We have been performing our Mummers Play for more than 20 years and there’s always a good crowd in Wimbledon Village,” commented Dave Legg, Squire (leader) of Greensleeves Morris Men.
“We got a very friendly welcome at Alexander House and had warm mince pies with the residents before we left.
“The crowd at the Rose and Crown were in good spirit as usual, and there was a sunny festive atmosphere at the Hand In Hand and Crooked Billet.
“This is an enjoyable traditional Boxing Day event and one of the highlights of our yearly programme. Everyone has had a good time.”
For those interested in English traditional dancing and folk music, why not join Greensleeves at their first practice of the New Year and try out Morris dancing for yourself?
The club’s first Friday practice session will be held today (January 5) from 8pm to 10pm at South Wimbledon Community Centre, 78 Victory Road, SW19 IHN.
T-shirt, jeans and trainers plus a sense of fun are all you need to try Morris dancing for the first time.
“If you want to try out Morris dancing why not come along to our first practice of the New Year on Friday 5 January? Everyone’s welcome,” Legg said.
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 35 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.
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January 5, 2018