Pace Egg play 2009

Update: Saturday, 11 April 2009

See photo galleries: Calder High students; Heptonstall Players


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Heptonstall Pace Egg
- See below for details and times

Calder High students perform the Midgley Pace Egg play
- See below for details and times

Pace Egg play 2009

Heptonstall Pace Egg

Good Friday, 10th April
Venue in Weaver's Square, Heptonstall.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the revival of the Heptonstall Pace Egg.

Heptonstall Pace Egg was revived in 1979, for a one off performance, as part of a year of events to celebrating the Centenary Year of Heptonstall School.

After that performance Kevin McAspurn (who played Bold Slasher) and I decided it was part of village tradition and we should keep it going. We would like to thank all the many volunteers that have performed, collected and helped out over the years to make the Pace Egg happen.

The play has built a enthusiastic following, with many people coming back year after year. Children dress up as the characters and the audience know the lines as well as we do. The whole day has become a sort of coming together, re-uniting old friends and family from the area.

Every year and its play are special to us with their own idiosyncrasies. We hope this year is just as unique.

As a 'combat' version - the most popular variant of this type of mummer’s play in the Pennines - it promises to be an action-packed spectacle that shouldn't be missed.

The Hill Millies Women’s Morris Dancers from the Hebden Bridge area will be dancing traditional Cotswold Morris{!) between performances.

This year we are altering the time of performances and not doing the Midgley and Heptonstall plays back to back at 3.30 as in previous years. Although many people like to come to this double performance to see both versions together the sheer number of people attending has made it necessary to stagger the plays out over the afternoon.

We hope this will spread the large audience out and reduce the background noise and chatter that has been making the final Midgley and Heptonstall plays very difficult to hear, spoiling the enjoyment of the plays for many.

Please note new times.
Performance times are as follows in Weaver's Square:

11.15 am Heptonstall Pace Egg
12.30 pm Heptonstall Pace Egg
2.00 pm Heptonstall Pace Egg
3.00pm Midgley Pace Egg (Calder High Players)
4.00pm Heptonstall Pace Egg

The collection for charity this year will be for: “Medical Aid For Palestinians, Gaza Emergency Fund”
and the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team.

We urge all visitors to use public transport or enjoy the walk up to the village. If you come by car please use Heptonstall Social and Bowling Club Car Park at Acre Lane. Follow the Pace Egg Parking direction signs.

The cast are:

Compere: Juggler Neal Colins (master of ceremonies )
St George: Ray Riches
Bold Slasher: Jimmy Green
The Doctor: David Burnop
Black Prince: Andy Carter
King of Egypt: Sydney Roper
Hector: Stuart Hought
Toss Pot: Dean Gash


Originally an adult rebirth ceremony for a good new season The Pace Egg Play is perhaps the world's oldest drama and can be traced back through English and European Mummers' plays to ancient Egypt and Syria.

A mixture of a pagan rebirth ceremony with the later influences of Christianity and the Crusades.
Our performance is a traditional Pennine variant of the play. The text of the Pace Egg has been passed down orally over the years and was at one time performed by the village boys for coppers or eggs at Easter time.

Calder High students perform the Midgley Pace Egg play

Running Order

8-45 Banksfield Estate
9-30 Todmorden
10-15 Mytholmroyd
11-00 Hebden Bridge (Holme Street)
11-30 St Georges Square
12-45 Hebden Bridge (Marina)
1-30 Luddenden
2-05 Midgley
3-00 Heptonstall

It’s that time of year again when the Calder Valley tradition of the Pace Egg play lives on and entertains hundreds of people throughout the Calder Valley. The students of Calder High School, will once again dust off their Pace Egging hats on Good Friday, 10th April,  to perform all day long throughout the Calder Valley. 

The Midgley Pace Egg play is an old tradition within Calder High School, and has been performed by the school for many years now. The Pace Egg is based on the oldest play in the world, The Mummers Play.

The story is based around Saint George's triumphs and the whole play boasts his great champion status. Throughout the performance three challengers try to defeat Saint George (Bold Slasher, Black Prince of Paradine and Hector), who is a very cocky and mighty character. The play consists of eight characters, which this year was again made available to all ages, due to the school’s excessive range of performing talent. As always, it is an all boys cast due to the ancient traditions of the play.

The auditions took place in front of a panel of experienced Pace Eggers who had the necessary knowledge to identify the sort of raw talent the Pace Egg needed. For the auditionee to get the nod from the audition panel they had to recite the part of Saint George as well as an unscripted performance of their own choosing. The auditionee also had to show their passion and interest in the Pace Egg itself and explain why they would like to be part of it. The lucky six successful auditionees will experience performing the oldest play in the world, performing to a wide variety of people throughout the Calder Valley and will get to make the performance their own by working outside of the usual performance boundaries.

This year’s cast will be - Billy Painter, The Fool, Johnny McQuade, Bold Slasher, Joachim Goddard, The Doctor, Dario Coates, King of Egypt, Sam Harris, Black Prince of Paradine, Dylan Wilby, Hector, Thomas Deadman, Tosspot and finally Pace Egg evergreen Isaac Rose takes the lead role of Saint George. Crowds will also be spoilt with the musical brilliance of Clara Collett and Jess Woodhead, who will be the buglers once again.

For those of you reading this article, having not seen the Pace-Egg before, I really do urge you to get to your local area this Easter, and support this magnificent tradition. Once again the play promises to be a fantastic and memorable occasion, so don’t stay away; come experience Good Friday the Calder Valley way!

The Pace Eggers will be donating all funds made on the day to The Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team.

Billy Painter

See also

Hebweb Feature on the Pace Egg plays with photos, background and audio and video clips

We try to make sure that the Hebden Bridge Web news is correct,
but if you are aware of any errors or omissions, please email us

If you have comments on Hebweb news please make
a contribution to our discussion forum

More news

© Hebden Bridge Web

See Hebweb Feature on the Pace Egg plays with photos, background and audio and video clips