Crowds gather to watch traditional Mummers play
Around 200 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 public houses on the Crooked Billet at the edge of Wimbledon Common.
Blessed with fine winter's day weather after storms and torrential rain hit Wimbledon earlier in the week, the packed performance rounded off Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day tour which started in the morning at Alexander House Care Home, off Ridgeway, followed by a lunchtime performance in Wimbledon Village High Street.
"We had a big crowd. The weather helped enormously. People loved it; everyone left happy with a smile on their face", commented Andrew Ford, landlord of The Hand in Hand public house.
"Greensleeves performing here is a Christmas tradition and looked forward to by our customers."
Greensleeves' started their Christmas tour at Alexander House Care Home, a residential care home with 20 mostly elderly residents, that is owned and run by the Keychain Charity.
The care home's residents and staff all enjoyed Greensleeves' visit, according to Rosemary Lodge Team Leader, Sylwia Rachwal.
"Everyone enjoyed the performance. Even residents who do not normally join in with activities were clapping and smiling. Dancing and singing makes them so happy, it's very good for them," Rachwal said.
Moving on to nearby Wimbledon Village High Street, Greensleeves entertained a large passing crowd at their noontime performance opposite the Rose& Crown public house, attracting families and other visitors taking a Boxing Day stroll before lunch.
"Everything went very well today. We had very good audiences; they have been very enthusiastic," commented Chris Benson, Squire (leader) of Greensleeves Morris Men.
"There is always a very warm atmosphere here in Wimbledon Village on Boxing Day with lots of people coming out to enjoy themselves."
For those interested in English traditional dancing and folk music, Greensleeves will run two Friday open evenings in January, offering first time and returning dancers the chance to join in the fun of Morris dancing.
The Friday open evenings will be held on the 3 and 10 January from 8pm to 10pm at South Wimbledon Community Centre, 78 Victory Road, SW19 IHN. Loose clothing and trainers are suggested for those trying Morris dancing for the first time.
"We have two open evenings in January and we hope people will come and see what Morris dancing is all about," Benson said.
"Our open evenings are the ideal way to sample the enjoyment of Morris dancing. No experience is needed; just bring your energy and enthusiasm!"
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 30 years.
Beginners are welcome and inquiries can be addressed to the club secretary (known as a Bagman) David Cooling on 07500993993 or email@example.com.
December 31, 2013