Traditional dancing and Mummers Play performances
A crowd of several hundred spectators gathered on Boxing Day to watch Greensleeves Morris Men, Merton’s popular local Morris dancing side, perform their traditional Mummers play and dance outside the Hand in Hand and neighbouring Crooked Billet pubs on the Crooked Billet at the edge of Wimbledon Common.
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.
“Greensleeves performing here is a Christmas tradition. It’s been the biggest turnout for years, I’d say there are 300 to 400 people here today. The weather is great and there’s a very jolly atmosphere,” commented Andrew Ford, landlord of The Hand in Hand pub.
“This is a traditional English pub on a green, people love it. There are a lot of foreign visitors here.”
Greensleeves’ started their Boxing Day tour at Alexander House, a residential care home with 20 elderly residents run by Keychange Charity, a Christian residential care home charity.
The care home’s residents as well as staff look forward to Greensleeves’ annual visit, according to Alexander House manager, Grace Shepherd. Other Christmas entertainment for residents this year has included carol singing by a children’s choir.
Moving on to nearby Wimbledon Village High Street, Greensleeves entertained a large crowd at their noontime performance opposite the Rose & Crown public house, attracting families and passersby out for a Boxing Day lunchtime stroll and those browsing the village’s High Street shops on the first day of the winter season sales.
“It’s our club’s 90th anniversary this year and we’ve had a good Boxing Day as usual. The crowds have been very enthusiastic and everyone has had a good time,” commented Dave Legg, Squire (leader) of Greensleeves Morris Men.
“We have been performing our Mummers Play for more than 20 years. We got a very friendly welcome at Alexander House and the residents enjoyed our performance, and there’s always a great crowd in Wimbledon Village.
“The audience at the Rose and Crown was in good spirit, 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.”
For those interested in English traditional dancing and folk music, Greensleeves is offering first time and returning dancers the chance to join in the fun of Morris dancing at its first practice session of the New Year.
The first Friday practice session will be held on 6 January 2017 from 8pm to 10pm at South Wimbledon Community Centre, 78 Victory Road, SW19 IHN.
T-shirt, jeans and trainers are suggested for those trying 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 6 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 34 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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December 30, 2016