Keeping Pace Egg Play alive in the Calder Valley

The play has been running in the Calder Valley for at least 25 years
The play has been running in the Calder Valley for at least 25 years

After 66 years of performing the Midgley Pace Egg Play in the Calder Valley, Calder High School has decided not to perform it this year.

But plans are in place to keep the tradition alive.

Rodney Collinge directed the play for almost 20 years when he was teaching at Calder High School.

He said: “The play, which is also known as the Mummers Play, is the most well known folk play not just in England but in the world.

“The Midgley Pace Egg Play has been going since at least 1780, almost 250 years, with the next longest play being under 100 years old. It would therefore be a tragedy for the district if this tradition were to cease.”

The name “Pace Egg” comes from the Latin word pascha, meaning Easter, and translates as the Easter Egg Play.

The play revolves around a combat between a hero, St George, and a villain and is performed on Good Friday in Midgley, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall.

“People are really proud of it and it is so well known by visitors,” said Rodney. “It’s an Easter tradition and runs very deeply in the area.

“When you’ve been in it you never forget it. You can see each year when it’s performed there are people mouthing along the words.

“It is a precious thing and gives the area an economic boost on Good Friday.”

Rodney is going to direct the play once again this year and is looking for players to perform in it.

There has already been a great response from people who performed the play back in their school days and have fond memories of their acting experience.

Rodney said: “We have had a massive amount of interest.

“We are trying to set up an organisation to see it lasting into the future."

Anyone wishing to get involved in the play should contact Rodney Collinge on 01422 885141.

There are plans to hold a meeting sometime in the next week to discuss details of the upcoming performance as well as talk about ideas on keeping the well known tradition alive in the Calder Valley for years to come.