Mumming Meets Drumming: Re-contextualizing Performance for Peace in Northern Ireland


Caroline Joy Tatem (Indiana University)

I describe a children’s ritual that blends mumming folk drama with the Lambeg drumming tradition. I use participant observation and draw on performance studies articles to argue that the process of folklorization made it possible for the Armagh Rhymers to perform in the political setting of an Orange Lodge. By establishing themselves as professional performers, rather than amateur actors as mummers traditionally are, the group was invited by the county council. I discuss how narrative in ritual drama can soothe social tensions in a political context. I consider the ritual’s effectiveness in building friendly relations between children and adults involved.

Part of 03-12 Song and Performance, Thursday, October 13, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm