Antrobus Soulcaking, CheshireAntrobus south of Warrington is a village of fewer than a thousand souls, but several of them are soulcakers too, guardians of a proud (well, maybe more loud and enjoyable than proud) dramatic tradition with performances taking place on the days around Halloween.
Any ‘drama’ group that has as its base a pub cannot be all bad; one that also performs mainly in such hostelries is to be highly recommended. Enter the Antrobus Soulcakers; more pint of Guinness than Alec Guinness ?
Soulcaking is a form of mumming, complete with sword fight, strange costumes allegedly in character, Beelzebub, The Black Prince and the Doctor who revives him, and King George among others, but with the differentiating presence too of the Wild Horse and Driver, one man and his dobbin causing mayhem and merriment as the piece nears its climax.
Mummers are not famed for method acting, but they are good fun. And a wonderful link with our past too, particularly so as regards Antrobus, which reportedly only had a short break in performances when WWI intervened. Search for deep meaning in the custom if you will, but it may simply have been like many other such plays a way of having a laugh, raising a few bob and getting some free drinks, thus in the noble traditions of many fine practitioners of the drama.
More British Folk Customs?