Rain, rain, go away!

We laugh in the face of puddles, we drop ice cubes down the vest of inclement weather! Sentiments worthy of any Morris side dancing in the UK and so it was when we arrived to perform at the ever welcoming and wonderful National Trust property at Dudmaston, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire to help them celebrate May Day.

IMG_4727

However, despite the heavy showers we managed to dance well for three 40 minute spots, getting progressively muddier each time as a stony surface churned into a wet, sandy…..puddlier one and we have the shoes, shirts and dresses to prove it. As usual at Dudmaston the audiences were large and very appreciative which made up for any discomfort. And the Shrewsbury Lasses performed their new dance, Ruby Shrewsbury, for the first time in public!

IMG_4289

IMG_5369

We even helped plant a May Tree and led some very happy members of the public in an impromptu dance at the end of the day.

IMG_5518

Now………where’s that kit cleaning stuff?……..Mayday!…….Mayday!…….

IMG_4774

Big Busk & Bishops Castle

Well, we’ve started our 2016 dance season with two fabulous local events.

Nothing delights us more than dancing in our lovely town of Shrewsbury, so it was a real pleasure to take to the streets on April 2nd as part of the Big Busk. The Busk is a celebration of th life of Ben Bebbington (you can read his story here) and it’s a charity event that raises money for our local shelter for the homeless, The Ark. It’s a wonderful atmosphere in town – there’s music and dance everywhere all day, and every second person you see has an instrument slung across their back!

We have supported the Busk in various guises since it began, and this year we were dancing in the Market Square, and at the top of Pride Hill – two great dance spots for us. We did start in the rain though, as you can see from these slightly dismal photos!

IMG_9236

It perked up a bit later on for our second spot and we drew a good crowd.

IMG_9771

All in all, the Busk raised £10,000 – good show everyone!

The following weekend we were delighted to be asked by the Shropshire Bedlams & Martha Rhoden’s Tuppenny Dish to join them for a birthday celebration in their home town of Bishops Castle, along with the other local sides The Ironmen & Severn Gilders, and Leominster Morris. Great to have all the Shropshire sides together! We danced all over town and finished off with cake. Crikey it was a chilly day!

IMG_3428

IMG_3347

IMG_0961

So all in all, two great dance outs to start our year! Next up, the fab Dudmaston on May bank holiday. If you’ve had the National Trust Spring Leaflet for Shropshire, you might notice one of our musicians cheekily featuring!IMG_0038

Shrewsbury Morris Start 2016 Year Oop North!

So, 2016 is our 40th Anniversary year and we’re looking forward to a twelve months packed with fun and lots of dancing.

We’ll be performing in and around Shrewsbury as always, as well as in Quatt, Whitchurch, Cardington, Bishop’s Castle, NT Dudmaston and Leicestershire.

We also have a few fun things in store such is “40 dances in 40 local locations” and a big birthday party in Shrewsbury Square on Sat 2nd July.

But we started our activities as always with our annual walking weekend, this time in Yorkshire. Kindly arranged as always by Sue and Steve Mulcock we all decanted North at the end of March and invaded the sleepy but lovely village of Malham for a weekend. We always stay in YHA accommodation and this was
very good as usual. The team combines socialising, music and some team “togetherness” with a bracing, challenging but fun walk on the Saturday of the weekend.

Ray had come up with another excellent walk which stretched the fitness of some of us but provided great views of the wonderful Yorkshire countryside. Most people (and children) managed the first half (from Malham to Settle) and we had a lovely team lunch in a super pub in Settle. The second half was undertaken by a few hardy souls and we returned to Malham via a different but equally superb route.

The Sat evening was a mixture of a fabulous team curry cooked as always by Steve followed by a great music and song session.

It is the last time that Sue and Steve will organise this kind of weekend, having decided to hand the baton on to someone else after nearly 20 years of organisation, negotiating with the YHA and attempting to keep everyone happy (not easy). They’ve done a magnificent team job for Shrewsbury Morris and we thank them very much for their efforts.

Our first dance outs are 2nd April for The Big Busk and 9th April in Bishops Castle for a gathering of local sides – needless to say we are really looking forward to getting the new season underway!! Come and see us :))) We’ll be posting from those events shortly.

P1000686

Shrewsbury Morris are Tree…mendous!

End of the dance season for another year…..never a happy time for us but what better place to finish 2015 than the magnificent church of St Chad’s in the heart of Shrewsbury for their wonderful Christmas Tree Festival.
IMG_6434
Some interesting parking problems (well it’s Christmas, there was a Christmas Fair across the road and it was chucking it down with rain) had a few of us, as well as the management of the church a little worried that we might not kick off on time but we did and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
IMG_6676
Dressed in a variety of Christmas finery the team went through a good chunk of our repertoire and, I think gave a lot of pleasure to the watching audience.
IMG_6262
Our traditional final event is always Carols Around the Tree at the home of our leaders, Ray and Bev and we’re all looking forward to that.
IMG_6739

Shrewsbury Morris do a Woore Dance…

In our penultimate dance out of the year, we made our various ways on Thursday to Woore Victory Hall, on the Shopshire/Cheshire/Staffordshire borders.

We were dancing for Woore WI – which means that we were doing our ‘show’ – an hour long showcase that features a number of our favourite dances, along with some singing and explanations of Morris in general and our own dances in particular. The Roving Mic often makes an appearance too, as we interview both members of the team and of the audience!

IMG_5441

Nice to be inside and dancing on a decent floor (much more forgiving on the feet) and just look at the height our chaps can get while dancing Shrewsbury Gallop!

IMG_5314

Normally we love a WI, as we are renowned as a cake loving side, but sadly this time we were out of luck as they’d eaten all the cake before we got there! But we had a good time anyway…

IMG_4733

Shrewsbury Morris Bid for Festive No. 1

In a bold festive move, in no way influenced by any Christmas Spirit, we have ventured onto Soundcloud!

We would love you to listen to our Ceilidh band playing I Saw Three Ships from our traditional Christmas Ceilidh on December 5th. This wonderful event pulls crowds in from miles around, with people coming back year after year and also featuring the famous running raffle…

We always have a theme for for the ceilidh, this year’s was Magic. Most of the side and a fair amount of the audience turn up in fancy dress – this year we had Gandalf, Maleficent and Freddie Mercury (well, it is a kind of magic…)

ceilidh

On the track, you can hear the dancers having a great time to the accomplished calling of Bev Langton.

We also always do a ‘spot’ in the interval. This year, we surprised the audience with a christmas medley from the Shrewsbury Morris Spoonchestra!

Shrewsbury Morris – 2015 dance season continues, and we’re recruiting!!!!

Since we last blogged a great deal has happened in Shrewsbury Morris World so by way of an update……..since the end of May we’ve danced at Chester Folk Festival (scene of the great rainbow neckerchief tussle), received, used and handed over the Shrewsbury Festivals Baton and organised and held an amazing, highly popular free music and dance event in town called Beat and Bells.

This saw Pateley Longsword Morris, us (naturally), the awesomely thunderous Kayobi Taiko and the stupendous Zulu Tradition who wowed the crowds that gathered in Shrewsbury Square on a sunny June day….a day to live long in the memory!

IMG_2701

Prior to the event we had also raised enough money through a Crowdfunding project (we believe we’re the first Morris side ever to achieve this) to allow Zulu Tradition to visit six local schools in the week leading up to Beat and Bells and impart their own particular brand of education, fun, song and dance to completely captivated children of all ages. The photos of young beaming faces joining joyfully in all the activities were proof enough that the idea was a complete success.
IMG_2943

The sunshine and heat of Sat June 6th was replaced by the cold and rain of Sat June 13th when we went to dance in Wellington for the annual Summer Fayre. This delightful event is a bit of a favourite of ours and we were really looking forward to it. Sadly the rain curtailed our dance programme but both our teams put in a stoic spot before the heavens really opened and the whole event was moved indoors. Our cloggers did manage a dance inside a packed school room which went down very well with the crafters there!

IMG_3574

Two weeks later we were back dancing at Holly Farm Nurseries near Prees for their open day. We weaved in and out of the vintage cars, plants and flowerpots to put on a pretty good display and the team all seemed to have great fun on another rainy day….but we danced under a lovely canopy so that was alright then!
IMG_4892

July started with a social event…an unwedding….as two of our super team members, Cathy and John got unmarried at a very lovely unwedding reception…..a fab day where the team could enjoy being together and saying well done to the happy newly unweds! Needless to say there was a Lasses dance in there which Cathy had to join in with and an appearance by a secretive and previously unknown “boy” band who we believe will slip just as quickly back to well deserved obscurity.

11695972_10153523751673799_7083123072949196108_n

The village of Llanrhaedr Ym Mochnant kindly invited us to process and dance at their very popular carnival on 11th July and a week later we found ourselves in Buxton as guests of the very hyphenated but extremely well organised and kind Chapel-en-le-Frith Morrismen who were celebrating a birthday by hosting 16 Morris sides from around the country for a Day of Dance. The weather was brilliant, the dance venues spectacular, the organisation impeccable and it was really nice to meet and dance with friends old and new.
IMG_8744

Just before we broke up for our traditional August mini-break, local torn paper collage artist Lyn Evans came to give us a preview of her latest commission which is a beautiful collage of Shrewsbury Square. Known to only a few of us at the time she had very kindly included Shrewsbury Morris in her picture. Not just included but centre stage too! We are extremely grateful to her for “immortalising” us in such a beautiful way and for being so generous as to give each team member some gifts of cards and vouchers to buy full size prints. A great way to end the first part of our dance season.

Although August is a quiet month dance-wise for us, many of the team have been and are currently very busy helping and working at other folk festivals, principally Sidmouth and Towersey where a great deal of hard work and organisation is helping those two festivals enormously.

Whilst they’re doing that the rest of us move on to our own folk festival in Shrewsbury where we’ll be dancing on Sat 29th Aug at the following places:

Festival Site Garden Stage – 9:45-10:30

St Mary’s Church – 11:15-12:00

St Alkmond’s Church – 12:15-13:00

Procession through town – 13:13-14:00

Shrewsbury Square – 14:45-15:30

St Alkmond’s Church – 15:45-16:30

We are looking forward to it immensely.

Finally, practice resumes on Thursday 3rd September at Sundorne School, Shrewsbury from 8pm……..and we’re recruiting, especially men! So, if you’re even vaguely fit, like fun, feel like having a go at this wonderful thing that we all love and don’t mind committing some of your free time then why not just come to one of our practices, meet the team and see what you think? We’ll teach you everything so no previous dance experience is necessary.

You never know…….we could change your life for you…..:)))))

2015 so far

It’s been a very busy and pretty varied start to the 2015 dance season for us, kicking off as ever with our annual Team Walking Weekend in a part of the UK. This time our terrific organisers Sue and Steve (hats off and hankies lowered to them) really came up with the goods and booked us into the Youth Hostel in Conwy, Wales. We enjoyed perfect weather, a hostel completely to ourselves with acres of room, a super music session during which we actually danced off against each other and, of course enjoyed a wonderful walk together.

The weekend was made even more special because we had also just reached (in fact surpassed) the £2k target we had set ourselves via a Crowdfunder project, to get the amazing Zulu Tradition group from KwaZulu Natal to visit six local schools to carry out cultural workshops. Double celebration with champagne!!! Looking forward to that happening in June. The Crowdfunder experience was a new one to us, it turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride but thanks to some hugely generous people we made it with two weeks to spare!

On our return we were quickly into the first dance out of 2015, at the very picturesque Glansevern Gardens, close to Welshpool. This enables us to demonstrate several new dances that had been hard practised over the winter and at our “Boot Camps” in January. Although a little on the inclement side the weather brightened just as we started and remained sunny all through our programme – good start!
IMG_9761

This was swiftly followed by a highly enjoyable (albeit with an unfortunate casualty…get well asap Lynne) dance out in Shrewsbury for and with The Big Busk, a now annual event to commemorate through music, dance and all manner of entertainment, the life of a local busker Ben Bebbington who was murdered by two men on a canal towpath comparatively recently. The Busk fills Shrewsbury town centre with music and fun and is great to be a part of. We had a super time dancing in front of big crowds and caught up with lots of friends too. Note to selves….don’t dance Steeple Claydon in a space the size of a handkerchief again :)))

IMG_1466

Next stop….celebrating May Day at the fabulous National Trust Dudmaston near Bridgnorth, in front of what turned out to be (I believe) their biggest crowd ever for a single day! Some of us were on a beach on the other side of the world that day so couldn’t be there but the team (as always) had a great time, danced brilliantly and were thoroughly well looked after by the NT staff as always. We love going to Dudmaston :)))

Our most recent dance out was at the outgoing Mayor of Shrewsbury’s Garden Party in the tiny village of Cruckmeole just outside Shrewsbury. After an impromptu and unexpected maypole dance by myself and Cathy (knew we should have arrived later lol) the team danced for the party goers on the tennis court of a beautiful country house, finishing with perfect timing so that the duck race could start.
IMG_5709

IMG_6180

We have a busy few days coming as we are dancing at Chester Festival on Sat 23rd May and then the following Wednesday (27th) when we’re dancing before the Demon Barbers XL show at The Place theatre in Oakengates, Telford all of which we are very much looking forward to.