Fordington, on the outskirts of Dorchester, puts on a Fair to celebrate St George’s day each year, and this year invited the New Hardy Players to participate.
This tied in well with Thomas Hardy’s liking of Mummers Plays, which are folk plays with a long tradition in Britain, tending to have simple good v evil plots, and often featuring St George.
Thomas Hardy remembered seeing the Christmas mummers at Puddletown as they performed their plays from house to house, and in ‘The Return of the Native’ he used them as models for the Egdon Mummers. When the Hardy players staged a dramatisation of his novel in 1920. Hardy enthusiastically involved himself with the mumming ‘Play of Saint George’.
To keep the tradition going, we did our own version of the ‘Play of Saint George’ on Fordington Green. It was very well received, with some good heckling!