March 30, 2016

The 11th Performance of the Chiddingfold Tipteerers Reality Show!
Tuesday 26th December 2017

 Two play actors Lady play actor as widow Play actor Doctor  Play actors as King George

You can’t get any more 'real' than a live performance of the original and traditional Chiddingfold Tipteerer’s Play coming to a pub near you in Chiddingfold again this Xmas! And You are invited to be a part of it!

We ham it up a bit, (well a lot!). We don't take ourselves seriously, (who could?), but we do ensure that everyone has a good time! Having found an old script and account of a traditional 'Tipteerers' play, that was performed in Chiddingfold circa 1860, a few chaps got together in 2003 to resurrect the tradition.
We had ten consecutive annual performances since that 'resurrection' of the play, but it has not happened for the last four years! (Shame, but the cast members need some reinforcement!)
Also known as 'Mumming', Tipteering might be the original form of Pantomime (from the Greek: pan, the whole or all; and mimos, referring to a theatrical style or technique) and perhaps even the origin of what we know as modern theatre. Much of it’s origins seem to be pagan, involving the themes of death and resurrection around the winter solstice, but as few scripts or accounts have survived in written form this may be largely supposition. The play was performed in the past by the agricultural and other workers of the area who, in times of winter hardship, found that performing 'street theatre' was a welcome source of a little income! They also took the play around the large houses and performed for the 'gentry'.

The significance of the array of characters in a Tipteerer’s play seems lost to modern audiences, but has elements of a symbolic history of the British culture.
Disguised, according to tradition, with blackened faces, the ‘guisers’, or players take the parts of
King George,   a Turkish Knight,   Beelzebub,   the Doctor,   and especially Old Father Christmas,   plus the Bold Captain,   Little Billy Wittle and of course Slasher, the gallant soldier!
Needless to say, Good King George wins the day against the villain, who is killed, but brought back to life by the marvellous Doctor!

All participants dress in what costume can be brought to hand; 'rags and tatters', and with their blackened faces, (to avoid recognition!), they ‘fight’ with wooden swords; and conclude by consuming beer whilst taking a collection! (This money will be donated to the Chiddingfold Bonfire Fund, who disburse their funds to the elderly of Chiddingfold each Xmas).
Some raucous singing of Xmas Carols with much audience participation will round off a cheering event. To continue this modern re-enactment, the Chiddingfold Tipteerers will perform on Boxing Day, Tuesday26th December 2017, starting our first performance at The Swan at about 12.00nn. That should allow for an audience to gather at a The Crown . for another performance at about 12.30pm.
We would welcome and indeed encourage interested local men/boys/ladies/girls who would be willing to dress up and have fun whilst continuing a very old tradition, to come along and join us, especially anyone who can scrape, bang or blow an instrument to make 'music'!
We are not looking for great acting - as anyone who has seen a mummers’ play will know - but rather a willingness to dress up, spread some fun, and to declaim some lines, loudly and with spirit. We are recruiting, players and musicians to swell the cast numbers and ‘rehearsal’ dates are Fri 24th Nov 7.30pm, Fri 22nd Dec 7.30pm and finally on THE day at 1030 for the 12 and 1230 performances. Further detail to follow but the use of the church room is being requested as a rehearsal venue. A big thank you to the licensees involved for quenching the players thirsts in previous performances. If you would like to take part please contact:- John Cowburn [01428 685940] but in any case - do come along on the day, 26th December, to jeer, cheer, sing and shout !

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