The Story of the Armagh Rhymers
Location: The Rooms Theatre
Date: Thursday, December 6, 2018
Time: 2:30 -3:30 PM
Join us at The Rooms for a screening of Na Cleamairi: The Story of The Armagh Rhymers, a documentary about their decades-long work in folk theatre and its roots in Irish folklore.
The Armagh Rhymers is a group of performing mummers from Northern Ireland. In 2013 they visited St. John’s and performed at the Mummers Festival. ”Na Cleamairi” is an Indee Productions film for ILBF and TG4 directed by Gavin Halpin, produced by Grainne McGuinness and edited by Stephen Petticrew.
Core to the Armagh Rhymers is the age-old folk theatre tradition of masked rhyming which blends dance, drama, music and song. A vital part of the Armagh Rhymer’s distinctiveness are the unique masks and costumes performers wear. They are based on traditional designs of the Wren Boys, Mummers and Strawmen, as well as characters from Celtic mythology and old Mummers plays that the Armagh Rhymers still perform.
Aiming to celebrate and preserve old Irish customs and heritage, performances have a diverse range of inspirations. The Armagh Rhymers continue the ancient custom of performing rituals on festival days from both the Christian and pre-Christian periods in Ireland, such as Bealtaine, Samhain and St Brigid’s day. They also practice the house visiting tradition of the Mummers, Wren Boys or Strawmen. The main day for this tradition would be Lá an Droilín (Day of the Wren). This day is known in English as St. Stephen’s or Boxing Day and occurs the day after Christmas Day. On this day the Rhymers visit various houses and perform for the community, raising money for charity in the process. All of the Armagh Rhymers performances draw heavily on these ancient traditions.
This article was written by Larry Dohey