The Mummers' Masque
by Dean Burry (b. 1972)
17, 18 & 19 December 2015, 8:00
Pre-show event at 7:15 each evening
19 December matinee at 2:00
Pre-show event at 1:15 on Saturday afternoon
Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 106 Trinity Street, near the Distillery District
Move over Handel, watch out Scrooge! Enjoy a glass of wine or Christmas grog and experience this rollicking alternative to your usual seasonal offerings; a celebration of the 400-year-old Newfoundland holiday tradition of mummering featuring music, dance and storytelling.
All performances are now sold out. Thank you for your support. If you would like to join our wait list, please call 416-410-4561.
Carla Huhtanen, soprano
Marion Newman, mezzo soprano
Christopher Mayell, tenor
Giles Tomkins, baritone
Pierre Chartrand and Hannah Shira Naiman, step dancers
Members of the Canadian Children's Opera Company
Larry Beckwith, Artistic Director and violinist, will conduct an all-star jug band including:
Andrew Downing, double bass
Ian Harper, flute, penny whistle, uillean pipes
Joseph Macerollo, accordion
Terry McKenna, bouzouki, guitar
Ed Reifel, percussion
Dean Burry, composer
Derek Boyes, director
Gabriel Cropley, lighting design
Lindsay Squire, decor
TMT audiences donated bottle caps for composer Dean Burry to use in the construction of a new ugly stick to be featured in our upcoming production. Watch the behind the scenes video with Dean and his mate Dave by clicking on the image below.
Find out more about our bottle cap drive here.
The beautiful Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is the perfect venue for this Mummer retelling of the adventures of St. George (played by Carla Huhtanen), his encounters with a rival knight and dragon (both played by Marion Newman) and romantic shenanigans with the mysterious Princess Zebra (Christopher Mayell). Hosted by Father Christmas (Giles Tomkins, but don't tell the kids) and featuring carols, audience sing-alongs, jigs and reels, The Mummers' Masque will have young and old tapping their toes and laughing uproariously. Guaranteed to raise the spirits!
We welcome you to join us at a pre-show chat 45 mminutes prior to each show, to be presented by Artistic Director Larry Beckwith, and Newfoundland-born composer Dean Burry.
The Mummers' Masque was commissioned by Toronto Masque Theatre in 2008 with the generous assistance of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council. It was given its world premiere on 3 December 2009 at the Victoria Chapel on the campus of the University of Toronto.
Mummering is a Newfoundland custom dating back to the earliest settlers arriving from England and Ireland. In the early years, the tradition involved the performance of folk plays, presented around New Year’s and old Christmas Day. While varied in detail, the plots were consistent: a hero and villain battle, the villain is mortally wounded. The hero, feeling grief at the loss of a kindred warrior, summons a quack doctor who revives the villain through a series of outrageous cures and the enemies finally embrace in harmony. A simple story, outlining the cycle of death and re-birth, particularly apt at the turn of a new year.
As it’s currently practiced, mummering is primarily a house-visiting tradition. During the Twelve Days of Christmas, people disguise themselves with old articles of clothing and visit the homes of friends and neighbours, often covering their faces with scarves, masks or pillowcases to keep their identity hidden. Inverting the accepted rules of society is an important aspect of mummering, so cross-dressing is common, with men dressing as women and women as men. Travelling from house to house, mummers will carry musical instruments to play, sing and dance in the houses they visit. The host of these 'mummers parties' will serve a small lunch and perhaps some Christmas grog.
Inspired by these various traditions, The Mummer’s Masque is fashioned from the original, historic stories with music that blends contemporary opera and traditional folk styles. It is also the only known example of a classical solo for the Newfoundland Ugly Stick.
To learn more about the mummering tradition in Newfounland, please visit the Mummers Festival website.
To find out more about mummering tradition internationally check out the Wikipedia article.
You can find out more about The Mummers' Masque and composer Dean Burry at his website.
Photo credits: Al Uehre
Art credit: Mummers Approach is used with the generous permission of Bobbi Pike.
$43 (65 and over)
$20 (30 and under)
BY PHONE: 416-410-4561