The Warburton Souling Play - Performances 2003
Warburton Souling Play home
The Parish of Warburton
The Play's History
The Revival
The Present Day
Back to The Post Revival Period
Back to the Souling 2003 page

View the Gallery for 2003
TheSaracen's Head Logo
1978 / 2003 - 25 years since the re-establishment of the Play.

Details of the progress of the 2003 season's performances as it happened are described below. This page was posted as we went through the week although the tense has since been amended.

The First Night - Saturday 1st Nov

We started at the Saracens Head as normal and although this had it's usual level of custom measured on a couple of pairs of hands it was nevertheless a good start to the evening. Hopefully by the end of the Souling week we'll see a few more populating the Saracens for the last night. We also found ourselves in front of a camera, and not for the first time. In this case our friends from Orbit News took a couple of shots that later appeared in the Manchester Evening News and in Lymm Life.
Next was a visit to the Axe and Cleaver in Dunham and what a change to this pub since we last played there in 1994. The place was full and it was very satisfying to see people come out of the back areas to see the Play. A very satisfying performance all round. Also extra satisfying for beelzebub when he hears the "but you got me last year" as the beer is taken out of a fellow's reach. What do they say - once is an accident twice is.....
Onto the Rope and Anchor. A bit of a let down as all the custom must be in the Axe and Cleaver! Still we just have to get on and do it to the dozen there.
Finally The Vine and a little less populated than of late but still a good response. I do wish they'd remove the partition between the two sections of the pub as it really makes it difficult to play to the two halves of the pub's population since it was put up. It was also noted the number of people who've seen us before as as soon as Beelzebub came to his 'bit' one table of drinks was removed out of reach - fortunately there was another table who we were new to... . It was also noted that number of tables in the various pubs who were on wine making selection of a victim more difficult.

We await to see what Tuesday brings - not normally a busy night but in Lymm there can be sufficient people about.

The Second Night - Tuesday 4th Nov

Well wasn't it a quiet night? We normally expect a quiet evening midweek but this combined with it being a 'Football night' left it spread very thinly as regards drinkers.
The first to prove this was the Wheatsheaf at Agden which had a grand total of 3 people in. Following this 'practice' we then went to the Jolly Thresher with around a dozen in, by the time some people came from the rear room to watch us.
The next pub was the Stamford Arms in Little Bollington. This was an extra performance as it was only intended to meet there however, we were commanded to return later in the evening to perform there. Again only around a dozen people were in.
Next were the three pubs in Lymm with the first of those being the Golden Fleece. It's a good number of years since we last performed there as it has spent most of the intervening time with loud music emanating from inside its doors. The difference in ambiance is astounding and if anything this provided us with the most satisfying performance and the most spectators. The Bull in the meantime had a grand big round zero by way of drinkers when we got to Lymm but fortunately had filed up (to a dozenish!) by the time we got there. Finally it was the Spread Eagle and normally we'd expect to see a reasonable number here however yet again it was around dozen.
Whilst it was a quiet evening the advantage was that people were attentive (other than perhaps a young group in the Thresher) and provided a satisfying evening. To calibrate it again, the collection only netted £4.00 less than Saturday however that was from 6 performances as against 4 on Saturday.

The Third Night - Thursday 6th Nov

A much better evening than Tuesday although still quiet by normal standards.
First was the Windmill in Carrington where we were told to be in and out before the quiz started at 9.00. We duly got there at 8.40 and got the Play under way at 8.45 to a very quiet pub, although people were arriving all the time. When we finished we noticed the poster advertising the Quiz with a start time of 9.30 - we'll know for next year.
A quick sprint over to Hollinfare/Hollins Green on the other side of the Manchester Ship Canal to a very good reception at the Black Swan. A fair number of people there although a few more would have been nicer.
Back to Urmston and our regular venue of The Roebuck. The trouble was this was the quietest we've ever known it. Still probably the most people we've played to so far this year! Next in Urmston was the Church and a most attentive audience - everyone was listening which always adds a little bit as it enables us to be more responsive with the words.
Best night so far with the collection as well.

The Fourth Night - Friday 7th Nov

What a good night Friday was. The best collection so far and by far the greatest numbers in the audience.
First we met at the Railway in Broadheath where £5 was put in the hat before we'd even started just for taking the trouble of explaining the Play to someone. Next we went to The Moss Trooper in Timperley where we had to play to a high level of ambient noise and although it was a good performance there was less than half the audience paying attention.
Back to the Railway to perform and where it was 100% attention from the much smaller audience - but still netted not much less by way of the collection as the previous pub!
Onto the Old Market Tavern which was both busy and attentive. Considering there were probably 50+ people in there you could here a pin drop most of the time. An excellent performance. We then investigated doing the Orange Tree next door and following much staring through the window from the drinkers inside they more or less invited us in by their curiosity. Well worth it and again a good reception.
Into Hale next where we already had picked up bad vibes about doing it in The Midland during the setting up stage and this was proved correct by a straight refusal upon a final check. Samual Smiths don't allow such things was the 'excuse' this time, shame we'd already done the Play in plenty of other Samual Smiths pubs. It just highlights to problems of landlords making a fool of themselves in this age of just not understanding or taking the trouble to understand the Traditions of the land. It was an excuse and that is all it was!
So onward to The Railway in Hale and the final performance of the night where as usual it was a superb reception even though there was a substantial amount of ambient noise coming out of the two side rooms. And to cap it all Bridget bought the Gang a drink - thank you very much.
The other highlight of the day was a good write-up and picture in the Manchester Evening News. Thank you to
Orbit News
for submitting the piece.

The Last Night - Saturday 8th Nov

Well what a day that was. It has got to be one of the most enjoyable days ever for the revived Warburton Souling Play. Not only were the performances spot-on but the whole aura of the day was superb.
We started by meeting at the Saracens Head just after 2.00pm and from there went to the Warburton Parish Autumn Fair at St Werburgh's Church where the song struck up at the allotted hour of 3.00pm precisely. There is something quite unique about performing in the church atmosphere apart from immediately being invited back for next year. One gentleman had even come all the way from Derby to see the Play as well. The powers of this website are amazing.
Back to the Saracens Head for a bite to eat before walking back down Bent Lane into Heatley to perform at the Farmers Arms at a little before 6.00. A good reception too as there were enough people in to ensure a good response. There were a number of children there who also seemed to enjoy it. Beelzebub removed a pint of decent beer from next to a pint larger and was immediately asked what was wrong with the larger and why did I not take that as it was nearest? Some people just have no idea!
Onto the bus and down the road to Dunham and to the Axe and Cleaver for the second time. We started at just before 7.00pm and had an equally good response again. We were all bought a beer by the landlady for the second time as well. I suspect we'll be back there in future seasons.
Back to the bus stop and back to Heatley where we got straight off the bus and immediately went into performing at the Green Dragon at 8.00pm. A little noisy but nevertheless a good do. This was followed by a walk up the road to the Railway where we had our usual good reception. Beelzebub even managed to remove a full pint from the barman's hand before it had even passed onto it's rightful recipient.
And so the walk back up the road to the Saracens Head for the last performance there for this season at 9.15pm. And a splendid do it was as well. A full pub, not only a good number of people there having come to see the play but also a good number of others as well. This was followed by an excellent music session of the likes we've not seen for 5 or 6 years. Just having a pub full of life was a fitting end to this year. Even the bar staff did an excellent job as there was a hotpot supper there for us all and even 2 decent brews had been ordered and timed to be on for the last night. Thank you to all those at the Saracens head.
How do we follow this for the next season?

This page updated: 24th June 2004.