This project was developed after the discovery of a monograph left in the archive of Folk Music Historian and writer Fred McCormick after his death in 2016. This archive was left to Dr Mike Brocken, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Liverpool Hope University, Trustee of Minerva Arts and presenter of BBC Radio Merseyside's Folkscene programme. This monograph contained original scripts, a full list of towns and villages who took part in the tradition and a detailed list of changes, individual traditions and quirky tales related to each place.
Our project has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as several local councils and will see us undertaking the following activity...
RESEARCH: We have a research team who are currently working on finding out as much information about the plays as possible. We will also be recruiting a team of researchers in each location to help with this research, develop skills in oral history and working with archives and undertake further research to discover interesting and quirky stories from each location.
CREATIVE: We will be working with a team of musicians and writers who will come and work with groups in each location to create brand new songs, poems or short scenes that are inspired by the Souling tradition but feature content that is unique to the location itself.
PERFORMANCE: We will then bring together our new material with the original play and create a performance to be shared publicly in each location.
SHARING: Each play including the new material that is generated will then be written up into a publication that will be published at the end of the year. This publication will be given to each participant and housed at local libraries and archives.
This is a project that we hope will bring this tradition to more people's attention, enable local people to learn skills and have a lot of fun in the process and we can't wait to get started!