Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday 14 Dec : Deptford Fowlers Molly + London Pantomime Horse Race

Deptford Fowlers Troop do a kind of morris dancing as part of a tradition associated with Plough Monday, the first Monday after Epiphany. Molly dancing began with out of work ploughboys touring around villages offering the landowners the opportunity to pay them to dance instead of plough (since there would be no ploughing till Spring). If the landowners refused them money, they might find their garden lawns ploughed up, so the dancers would conceal their identities by blacking their faces with soot and dressing up in a variation of their Sunday best, with one of the members – the Molly – dressed up as a woman.

Basically it's a pub crawl with music and dance and a bit of dressing up! If you fancy joining the festivities, here's the schedule:

12.00: at the Royal Albert, 460 New Cross Road with dance commencing at 12.30. 
1.30: dance at the Little Crown, 495 New Cross Road
2.30: dance at the Job Centre, 120-122 Deptford High St
3.30: dance at the Dog and Bell, 116 Prince St

Deptford Fowlers Troop also celebrate Mayday when the Deptford Jack in the Green tours south London and the City. The video above is shot outside the Dog and Bell, their spiritual home. If the dancing starts a little too early for you, you can catch them at the Dog & Bell later, and meanwhile, head down the road to Greenwich for the annual Pantomime Horse Race...

Now in its fifth year, this Greenwich event has grown in size (though the contestants remain smallish in numbers – they're hoping for between 20 and 40 this year). Lots of comedians and showbiz personalities get involved.

This year the festivities begin with a science fiction themed opening ceremony at 11am. Stormtroopers (including Darth Vader) will march from the Cutty Sark to Devonport House where the race will start at 1pm. The panto nags then race to the Union Bar on Royal Hill. An after-race party hosted by comedian Stephen Frost starts at 2.30pm at the Greenwich Tavern next to Greenwich Park (£12 on the door). The event raises money for Demelza Children's Hospice – for more details and to see the route go the website!

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