Mummers Plays

Mummers Plays

Mummer’s Plays (ages 13-14)

This scheme of work introduces students to the traditional folk genre of Mummers’ Plays, a medieval form of street theatre. Each lesson contains fun games and activities that take them through the process from start to end, from creating and developing the stock characters and the history of Mummers, through to the hilarious death and resurrection of the hero! It enables the students to develop drama forms such as creating and maintaining a character, hot-seating, narration, addressing the audience and slapstick comedy. There is also a lesson with full instructions based on unarmed combat to help develop the mandatory, entertaining ‘fight’ sequence. Throughout the scheme, students are also encouraged to write rhyming couplets and verse as well as undertaking their own independent research and learning.

This scheme of work contains 6 drama lesson plans.

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the Characters. This introductory lesson lets the students have a go at creating the stock characters, by breaking the ice with a funny game based on exaggerated movement and gestures. These are then developed further with hot seating and the students to writing their own rhyming couplets to introduce their characters.
  • Lesson 2: Structuring the Introduction Sequence. This lesson focuses on Old Father Christmas for a seasonal version of a Mummers’ Play. It leads students through a structured piece of performance, using addresses to the audience and narration.
  • Lesson 3: Good vs Evil. Goodies and Baddies (or the protagonist and antagonist) are the focus of this lesson. Students use the idea of ‘superheroes’ to encourage them to further exaggerate their characters physically.
  • Lesson 4: The Climax. Basic moves from unarmed combat are demonstrated and developed into a slapstick fight sequence between St. George and the Turkish Knight. This lesson comes complete with atmospheric music to emphasise the comedy.
  • Lesson 5: The Falling Action and the Dénouement. This lesson is all about death and resurrection via magic potions! Slapstick comedy is used to provide hysterical moments of fun for both the audience and the performers.
  • Lesson 6: Assessment. Lesson 6 is an assessment piece using the structured process covered in the five previous lessons to enable students to create their own Mummers’ Play. It can be used as an in-class assessment or a piece for a Christmas concert or assembly.

Supporting materials include

  • Mummers’ Plays Introduction Sheet
  • Unarmed Combat Stage Fighting Sheets
  • 1 piece of amusing music

Additional resources are included in the appendices

  • End Of Unit Self-Assessment Form

The scheme of work is supplied as a zip file containing a PDF file, readable on most computers and 1 piece of music (Mp3 format).

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