The Warburton Souling Play - Performances
|| An interpretation, from our perspective, of
how each evening was received.
On this page it is normal for us to give a brief
of how we got on in each venue for each evening.
1st November 2008
We started as in recent years by meeting at Larchfield House where we
ourselves ready for the night ahead and for the season to come.
With everything sorted we headed out to the Saracens head where for a
Saturday night were quite expecting a good number of people in the pub,
unfortunately, it turned out to be rather quiet for a Saturday night.
Nevertheless it was a good start to the evening from the
performance perspective and we were heartened to have two people in the
audience who had driven over from Sheffield to come and see us.
From here we headed out over Warburton tollbridge to Hollins Green.
First we went to the Black Swan were the performance had to
finished before the karaoke started. This we managed with 15
minutes to spare and due to it being karaoke night we had a good
audience with the play being well received. A quick wander
the road to Ye Olde Red Lion where we played to fewer people but still
the play well-received. We were getting the impression that
Saturday night it was going to be a quiet evening.
Two more pubs to do and with both of these being in Dunham we headed
back out over the tollbridge to the Axe and Cleaver. Here
was a good audience and once again the play was well received in a pub
that we enjoy performing in. So with one more to do what we headed over
to the Vine where the entry was greeted with comments from the bar of
"...good God it must be that time of the year again!"
So that's it now for a few days. We'll start again on
the 5th November for a run of four nights to conclude our season on the
The summary for the evening could be described as a typical quiet
Wednesday followed by an excellent busy finish.
Starting at the Swan with 2 Nicks in Little Bollington we had around 15
to 20 people to play to, not many but it was received fine by those
there. Beelzebub had his drink but unfortunately ended up having to by
the drink back! Not often that happens. From here we went up the road
to the Wheatsheaf where we played to a similar number of people who
were very enthusiastic in their appreciation of the Play.
The third pub was The Crown in Lymm and is one we’ve not
performed at for some 20 years. It has certainly changed somewhat since
last time. We performed in the larger open dining area at the rear of
the pub with again around 20 people in. Unfortunately one group of
three got up to go outside during the Enterer’s speech
without really waiting to see what it was all about. Their loss I feel.
This was not the most satisfying of performances, however this was due
more to the nature of those watching, or not watching in this case,
rather than the pub itself. The landlord was very welcoming and pointed
out that it was much fuller earlier in the evening –
we’ll know for next year.
A long trek into Urmston and the Roebuck. We missed this pub last year
as there had been a fire and so it was closed. The result of the repair
was that it has now changed beyond all recognition, loosing it town
boozer feel and now having a much more ‘up-market’
presentation to it. It was the quietest we’ve ever known it,
however, whilst talking to the landlord whilst supping the round
he’d just bought the Gang we we’re assured it was a
very quit night and not as it normally is. Bonfire night and a certain
football team playing at home were the reported reasons. The
performance was well enough received however, and we’ll
certainly be back next year.
To the Church in Flixton for the last performance tonight and to a very
busy pub, and to what can only be described as an excellent end to the
evening. Everyone was attentive from the start with the only
conversation of the type where people were commenting amongst
themselves on what was going on. There was one group who seemed to be
there for a birthday party and the Gang took great pleasure in joining
in the Happy Birthday song. It’s always a great pleasure to
perform here in what is an excellent pub that is always well filled.
Two nights done and three to go, so Thursday will see us in Agden again
and then into Lymm.
This tour could only be described as bizarre. The
pubs, the Barn Owl and the Jolly Thresher, were both extremely quiet
and whilst those that were in the Barn Owl were very attentive
there were some in the Jolly Thresher who made a point of ignoring us,
instead insisting that watching football on the television.
you can watch football 12 months of the year yet you can only watch
Souling for five nights of the year it struck us that their priorities
From the Jolly Thresher we moved into Lymm and the Sadler's Arms.
And what a difference was there to meet us, the pub was
The Enterer did not fully succeed in quieting down the whole
the pub, however we did succeed in bringing to the pub into order with
the battle. All in all an excellent performance and an excellent
reception. Round the corner now to the Bull where again it
extremely satisfying performance to a well filled pub.
Our original planto finish the night was to end up at the Spread Eagle
in Lymm, however a Thursday night is also folk club night at the Spread
Eagle so it was suggested by our dear Groom that we did both.
Arrangements were duly made via text messaging with the folk
club. Upon arrival at the Spread Eagle there were a grand
of three people in the pub so we decided to go straight upstairs to the
folk club. However before we could get there it was pointed out to us
that the folk club was not at the Spread Eagle that night and was
instead a mile down the road at the rugby club! A quick
back to the car's, and off down the road, soon saw us at the rugby
club. It was now getting a bit late and the guest act at the folk club
was too close to the end of this set to enable us to interrupt so we
had to wait until the end of the encore to perform the play.
Well all I can say is that it was well worth waiting for. An
audience quiet and attentive and there to be entertained. As
was after closing time we had previously bought a beer and this was
strategically placed and in easy reach for Beelzebub. An
absolutely excellent finished to what was a very unusual evening.
Evenings don’t come much better than this it has to be said. We
were well received all evening and this started with the Greyhound in
Ashley. Here we’d normally arrange to do this as the penultimate
performance, however the licensee assured us to be there early as the
pub starts to empty at 8.30. We duly arrived there a couple of minutes
after that time and had more people in there as there were with the
last few years put together. A tremendous start to the evening playing
mainly to the group nearer the door as that area was well filled and
worth doing on its own.
Doing the Greyhound first meant we had to do more driving to get around
and so found ourselves going past the last pub for the night to get to
Altrincham and the Malt Shovels. Here it was typical of what we now
expect and so whilst not heaving it was as well received as it could
have been. Even the young lads in the darts room were impressed and
thought it wonderful.
Up Victoria Street to the Old Market Tavern and whilst not the busiest
we've seen it the performance was still as well received as ever. What
was becoming apparent by this time was the amount of 'folding money'
being put into the hat.
Back to our transport and into Timperley and the Quarry Bank. Was it
full or was it full? No, it was probably fuller than that. The Gang had
to raise their already strained voices even louder! We eventually got
the pub chat down to such a level that made it tolerable but we still
had to be 'loud' by any standard. And to cap it all we were bought a
drink by the Landlady at the end of the performance. We felt that only
one performance was as loud in recent years and that was The Railway in
Hale two years, where we were going next.
We eventually got to the Railway somewhat later than we'd planned
however, it made no difference The Railway was still, well, The
Railway. Busy. Whilst not to the same degree as that mentioned two
years ago it was sill by any standard a busy pub. That brought to an
end what was a memorable evening, finishing it as we'd started it in a
The result of all this was that we'd collected a record amount. More that any previous evening or day and by in excess of 20%.
So for the last day. This is the Gang's prestige day and the one that
has the most mixed of feelings. We look forward to it immensely yet are
very conscious that it brings the season to a close and that that's it
for another year.
The last day - Saturday 8th
As is now the norm we met at the Saracen's Head for
lunch prior to starting the day's proceedings at the Warburton Autumn Fair in St
Werburgh's Church. However before then the Enterer's new staff was introduced to
the rest of the Gang, and to much acclaim and satisfaction of its maker. This is
an item that we hope will be part of the Play for some time to
So we duly arrived at the Church and began our song at the allotted
time of 2.30pm. One cannot not really say much as it’s already
been said in previous years, simply, it's always a great pleasure and
an honor to perform there.
A short walk up the road to the bus stop and a bus to Sandy Lane and
walk up the hill to Cotebrook House to perform for our designated
charity. There weren’t as many residents there as last year as
some we're on holiday or were with family, however it was still a
pleasure to perform there regardless of numbers.
We were then taken back to the Saracen's Head for a short break before
heading for a bus to Dunham and the Axe & Cleaver. The Axe &
Cleaver has to be one of the friendliest pubs in the area and it is a
credit to Mike and Julie who run it and therefore it should be of no
surprise that be just love playing there. Regardless of us getting a
free drink when we do go, it is the quality of the performance and
playing to an appreciative performance in a friendly atmosphere that is
why we enjoy going there.
By this time the weather had turned foul and so the Gang headed back to
the bus sheltering underneath all manner of umbrellas. Arriving well in
advance as we don't like missing this bus back as there is not another
one for 2 hours. So we waited, and waited, and waited and finally came
to the conclusion there was not going to be a bus. So by now the mobile
phones were out and mustering as many people we knew who were heading
out to see us in the last few performances to come via Dunham to rescue
us. This left us around 40 minutes late so fortunately we persuaded
our 'lifts' to stay with us and to transport us between the last
remaining pubs. This was no hardship in view of the horizontal rain now
flying past us.
Arriving at the Farmers Arms at Heatley we immediately got stuck into
the performance, followed by getting stuck into a badly needed beer!
The reception was as warm as it usually is with a number of people
there especially to see us. Back into our 'lifts' and off down the road
to the Green Dragon. Being a spread out eating pub we always struggle,
however there were enough people there at one end of the pub to play to
and with whom it was suitably received to make an enjoyable penultimate
After another drink we were back out into the weather again and to the
cars to get us to our final destination of the day, and the season, the
Saracen's Head in Warburton.
A rousing performance all round, although Beelzebub did suffer in
trying to find a suitable victim to acquire his last item of
‘props’ from. The trouble was that well over half the
people were stuck in the raised section at the far end of the pub and
were just as unable to get down to the lower level because the stairs
were full of people watching. It equally meant Beelzebub could not get
up there to survey the contenders.
The evening was completed with the usual music session with people
coming from far and wide to join in - one fellow from Luton holding the
record this year.
We must offer our sincere thanks to Phil and Coard at the Saracen's Head
for there help in making the day go well. Especially for the extra
stock of beer they get in for the day and for the fine corned
beef hash they provided at the end of the performance for the
hungy Gang. Many, many thanks again.
Bother - it's all over until next year........
updated: 17th November 2008.