The Warburton Souling Play - Performances 2006
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The Saracen's Head logo A brief description of how each performance of the 2006 season went.

1st November 2006

The Gang ready to depart to the Saracen's Head for the first performance of 2006.

The Gang ready to go 2006

Well that’s the first night over and the Play is now ‘out’ and will be taken round the areas surrounding Warburton over the next few days.
The evening was quiet as would be expected for a Wednesday, and perhaps even quieter than recent years, with the Saracen’s Head probably having more staff than customers. We did however have a couple there from Warrington who were taking the opportunity of seeing as many Souling plays as they could. Many thanks to the Landlord for providing our first drinks of the season.
From there we went to the Axe and Cleaver in Dunham and as usual a hospitable welcome and our second drink of the season. It was fortunate that there were as many people in here as were in the other three pubs put together otherwise it would have been a frustratingly quiet night.
After the Axe and Cleaver we moved onto the Rope and Anchor, again in Dunham, where we played to at most ½ dozen people, including the staff! After that we moved down the road to the Vine Inn. Whilst there were more people in here it was still quiet compared with what we’ve known in the past.
Regardless of it being quiet the Play went down well in all 4 pubs and it was nice to see some people coming out specially to see us. On the other hand it amazes us that we still meet people who are local and regulars to some of the pubs we do and who have never come across the Play before.

2nd Night - Friday 3rd November 2006

The Gang singing outside the Railway in Mo
For Friday we moved onto Mobberley. It's the first time we'd done Mobberley for quite a few years. We stopped going there when Ringhey of Mobberley started doing their play there. However after asking this year we found out they were not planning to do a play and had no objection if we took the Warburton play there instead.

Starting at the Roebuck we found a very friendly and attentive crowd, although with an 'eating' pub such as this we always get the impression of intruding on those eating. A good start to the night in which Beelzebub broke his club!

From there we went to the Chapel House. Here we played to a small but very generous crowd. We found that if we'd been a bit earlier we would have had 4 or 5 times the number of people to play to.

Onto the Church next where again an hour earlier would have seen a full pub as there had been a bonfire locally. Nevertheless still a good and attentive audience. Beelzebub did have the pleasure of  disposing of a member of Ringhey's drink. Mmmm... a fine thank you for letting us play on their patch!

The Railway next proved the quietest with the 'younger' crowd there failing to understand the event - Beelzebub could not even find a suitable drink! Still enough of other age groups to give us a welcome though.

Last for the night was The Greyhound in Ashley which provided a good finish for the evening.Very well received with one gentleman seeing us for the second time, the first being on Wednesday.

3rd Night - Saturday 4th November 2006

The Saturday tour was hastily altered in the afternoon after we had intelligence reports that the planned Victoria Tavern in Altrincham had been considerably altered and was no longer considered a suitable venue. Instead we went to the Railway down the road. Here it was not the best start to the evening with just a few people in and those showing utter disinterest by carrying on talking - and us having to perform over the 'plastic' music.

Undaunted and not stopping for a beer with a reception like that we went to the Malt Shovels and what a difference 20 yards up the road can do. The Enterer went it and everyone shut up at his first words. Then his line "...  it is in favour that King George shall win." was met with enormous cheers. And it got better from there.

Next up the hill to The Old Market Tavern that was quite comfortably populated. We fortunately got there just before a band was due to start and whilst piped music was playing it was quickly turned down during the Enterers speech. All told a very good reception and once we'd finished the 4 Candles classic rock band struck up. The contrast could not have been greater.

Next door to the Orange Tree and a seemingly somewhat indifferent reception however, chatting to people after it was apparent it was appreciated more than we thought.

Last to the Railway in Hale where we always get a good reception and this was no exception. It was however, empty by normal standards which meant we actually had some room to perform the Play! Our dear and very appreciative landlady there was busy moving chairs out of the way to give us more room and then very kindly provided our drinks to finish off the evening. Many thanks to her again.

4th Night - Thursday 9th November 2006
The Gang at the end of the evening in the Roebuck in Urmston

We’re now into the last run of three days and this started with a tour spread between Hollins Green/Rixton and Urmston. Due to traffic our intrepid bus driver was running somewhat late so this put our departure behind schedule. It did not, however, stop us from having a quick pre-drink at the Saracen’s Head as we had to pass there!

The first stop was to the Farmers Arms in Heatley where we’d just caught the tail end of the early evening customers and the start of the late evening custom. A very well received performance with people coming out of the various nooks and crannies of the pub to see us.

From here it was over the Manchester Ship canal to Hollins Green and the Black Swan. Again the pub looked quiet upon arrival, however, after everyone had appeared from the various hidden areas we had a good crowd watching.

Next back over the canal to Heatley again and a visit to the Railway Folk Club, in the upstairs room of, believe it or not, The Railway pub! It was a singers night so we simply waited for a song to finish before we took our ‘unannounced’ turn. Once again a very good reception continuing what was turning into a good and enjoyable evening. On our way back downstairs for departure it became known there was a drink waiting for us courtesy of the Landlord. This was turning a late running evening into a very late running evening.

From Heatley we headed for Flixton and a performance in the Church Inn. It was Quiz & Music night, however we were told the activities would be halted for the performance, which indeed they were. A full pub, an excellent reception, what else could we ask for?

We unfortunately had to make our excuses and a swift departure for the Roebuck in Urmston though. We always have a good reception here and this was no exception, regardless of last orders being called in the middle of the performance. It finished the night on a good high ready to take us through to the last couple of days.

5th Night - Friday 10th November 2006

A tour starting in Agden and ending up in Lymm produced a very enjoyable evening. The Jolly Thresher had its largest level of custom we've seen for a number of years and this got us off to a very good start. From here to the Wheatsheaf and again whilst the pub was by no means full it was far more than we've seen in recent years. All told two good receptions.

Next into Lymm and the Golden Fleece as we we're told we should go there as the pub had a change of Landlord. Indeed that was the case however the type of customers has not. whilst they are interested there is so much background chatter (as the try to figure out amongst themselves what is going on!)  that it makes it hard work.

Over the road to the Bull and as usual its always a good performance in a nice cosy atmosphere.

Next to the Spread Eagle and perhaps not as good as in previous years. Two tables in particular just carried on talking over the whole performance - in fact they probably talked louder. Still the rest were very receptive.

Last for the night was the Saddler's Arms. We tried this as a last pub this year rather than the Spread Eagle and so it was somewhat busy. really it was too busy and so took a bit more volume to get the Play across. We'll probably revert to the original order next year. Nevertheless a good finish to the night.

The Last Night - Saturday 11th November 2006

Who said anything about a dress code here!

The Gang back at the Saracen's Head after performing at St Werburgh's Church .

Well here we are again, the last day, and after meeting in the Saracen's Head it was across to St Werburgh's Church for the Warburton Autumn Fair. Always a pleasant start to the day.

After another drink in the Saracen's Head it was down the road to the local farm for a performance to the family there. Another feature of the day that makes it so special.

Once they we're left in peace it was on the bus to Dunham and yet another excellent reception from the Axe and Cleaver. Following  a round of drinks there it was back on the bus to Heatley and the Green Dragon. A spread out audience here means we have to work at the performance to make everyone feel included.

So a walk down the road to the Railway and probably the quietest we've known this. Still a good reception from those there and another round of drinks with thanks to the landlord.

That's it for the main bit of the tour and so it's a mile walk back to the Saracen's Head for the last performance of the year. Well the pub was alive when we got there. The old pub front door was opened up for us to make our entrance from there. An excellent finish to the night then was followed by supper and music until gone midnight.
A very big thank you to the staff and landlord of the Saracen's Head for helping make it an enjoyable evening.

This page updated: 13th November 2006.