Ashdown Mummers celebrate 40th anniversary this weekend

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The world famous Ashdown Mummers celebrate their 40th anniversary this year.

Known internationally for their performances in the Ashdown Forest area of a traditional Sussex Mummers play just before each Christmas, they begin their 2013 season with an additional weekend of traditional Sussex and Kent dances, to be performed in pubs around the Forest this weekend.

The dances will be from Kent and Sussex, and will include some that were performed around the Ashdown Forest area during the 19th century. The dances would have been performed at pubs, or in the fields where people worked; they are social dances, almost like games, and frequently involve drinking!

The programme sees them on June 8 at The Hatch, Coleman’s Hatch (7pm,) The Foresters, Fairwarp (9pm) and on June 9 at the Royal Oak, Newick (12.30pm) and The Laughing Fish, Isfield (2pm). The Mummers’ men hope to be joined by some step dancers - popular in most pubs until the start of World War I.