Boldly Gone.

He’ll always be remembered for being the consummate master of ceremonies, effortlessly keeping the most raucous audiences under control with a smirk on his face and a pint in his hand.

Mind you, he’ll also be remembered for the dodgy raincoat and wellies and for gurning uncontrollably whenever he sang The Molecatcher.

Former Ribboner, Recruiting Sergeant and, latterly, our rather brilliant Bold Tom for the last 20 or so years (*), Mister Barry Nyblen has decided to retire from CRAPPPS.

We’ll miss our Baz terribly. His playful (but ultimately ruthless) treatment of hecklers has been the stuff of Plough Play legend. His knack of spotting the potential for a gag in any situation has kept all of us on our toes – because sometimes the gag has been squarely on us.

His respect for the wonderful tradition our group seeks to uphold has provided example and inspiration to numerous newer members (including me, coming into the fold somewhat nervously in 2007).

For all of the above, and for his effort and contribution over many long and laughter-filled years with CRAPPPS, sincere thanks and appreciation to our Barry are due. It won’t be quite the same without him.

Here’s Barry as the Ribboner in a BBC radio interview in 1996.


And here are some photos of him, arsing about.

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(*) = we’ve never been that good at record-keeping.

Beelzy x.


CRAPPPS Record Fundraising Haul!

Okay. We’re fashionably late with this news, but nonetheless very proud to announce a record-breaking CRAPPPS fundraising total of £1,356.34 for charity this year.

Nottingham NSPCC benefited to the tune of £1,024.29 from our Plough Play exploits back in January, with the Alzheimer’s Society picking up £332.05 from April’s run of our St George’s Play.

  • Psst! Are you a former cast member of the CRAPPPS Plough Play, or been otherwise involved with the group in the past? Guess what? Our play is turning 40! We’re planning to celebrate in 2018 and would love to hear from you. Please send a message to us via the form on the website’s ‘Contact’ page.


2017 Calverton St George’s Play – Tour Schedule

We’re very happy (indeed, delighted) to announce that we’ll be hitting several fine Nottinghamshire hostelries on Saturday 22 April 2017 with the seventh annual CRAPPPS St George’s Play.

Advertised times are (as ever) only a guide, allowing for leisurely pace of travel between venues proportionate to rate of ale consumption. If you have any difficulties recognising us, you’re already beyond help. For everyone else, we’ll be the colourful gurning shouty people wearing ridiculous costumes at the following boozers of renown:

Saturday 22 April 2017

  • Robin Hood, Lambley – 3:00 pm
  • Woodlark, Lambley – 3:45 pm
  • Nags Head, Woodborough – 4:30 pm
  • Four Bells, Woodborough – 5:30 pm
  • Gleaners, Calverton – 6:30 pm
  • Admiral Rodney, Calverton – 7:30 pm

This year’s collection will be in aid of the wonderful cause that is the Alzheimer’s Society. Please therefore bring out great wodges of cash with you and donate generously when the dripping pans come round. Also, remember to cheer loudly at that dead funny bit where St George stands on the dragon’s cobblers.

See you in the pub!

  • Psst! Are you a former cast member of the CRAPPPS Plough Play, or been otherwise involved with the group in the past? Guess what? Our play is turning 40! We’re planning to celebrate in 2018 and would love to hear from you. Please send a message to us via the form on the website’s ‘Contact’ page.

We raised a grand. Oh get in.


It’s not a sophisticated way of raising money, dressing up in ridiculous costumes and waving dripping pans at punters to fill up with coins. But it can be really effective, especially when people are so flipping generous and pubs are so brilliantly supportive.

The fantastic news is that the 2017 run of the Calverton Plough Play raised the princely sum of £1,024.29 for the mighty cause that is Nottingham NSPCC. Takings include funds raised from the 10 village, 17 performance run which took place 12 – 14 January, our appearance at Lowdham’s Cider, Perry and Juicing Festival at the end of last year and online donations made on the CRAPPPS JustGiving page.

barry-nick-400x300It’s the first time since 2012 we’ve raised more than a grand on Plough Play takings alone. The fundraising effort this year is made even more special by the fact that 17 official shows were played in 2017 compared with 21 in 2012. This means the pubs are plugging us wonderfully and customers are coming out in force to see us. Long may that continue, say us.

Plaudits this year go to the Fox and Hounds (Blidworth) at which the largest individual collection was received (£114.53) and to the Old Green Dragon (Oxton) and Admiral Rodney (Calverton) who were second and third respectively.

Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity. We look forward to seeing you in April for St George, and in January 2018 for Plough Play 40.

2017 Run Finished

plough-play-17-webAnd so the final sing out at Calverton’s Admiral Rodney heralds the end of another mighty fine run of the CRAPPPS Plough Play.

Another year down, another few hundred pounds raised for that most excellent of causes, Nottingham NSPCC. As our players enter recovery and reach for the painkillers, the business of counting the takings from last week’s 10 village, 17 performance tour has begun. Soon we’ll be able to report how much you so generously donated.

Thank you for your hospitality, generosity and friendship over the weekend of 12-14 January – it was hugely appreciated.

And see you in April for another slice of St George

Proper bunch of rogues ‘n’ all


Like a well-drilled military operation or something (really? Ed) the somewhat eccentric gentlefolk of CRAPPPS hit the road Thursday to Saturday this week (12 – 14 January) on their 39th consecutive annual Plough Play tour. Made with lashings of ale and mummery goodness, the play is based on a script first performed in Cropwell Bishop in 1890.

The tour takes in 10 villages and 17 shows as per the gig list here, with all proceeds going to the mighty cause that is Nottingham NSPCC for which more than £20k has been raised by the group so far.

nick-val-2014-400x300This year’s team (in order of appearance) is:

Paul Cullen will also be joining the musicians’ ranks this year alongside our guest Mr Peter Millington.

Guess what? You can click on the names linked above for some truly lovely (really again? Ed) pen pictures of our handsome and attractive cast. All biographies have been supplied by the individuals in question*.

See you at the weekend, mi duks!

  • Psst! Are you a former cast member of the CRAPPPS Plough Play, or been otherwise involved with the group in the past? Guess what? Our play is turning 40! We’re planning to celebrate in 2018 and would love to hear from you. Please send a message to us via the form on the website’s ‘Contact’ page.

* = apart from one where we got bored waiting and made something up.

Some Sacking, Some Wool, and a Bloody Big Needle

The following article was first posted on this website in January 2016. Worthy of an updated re-post with the 2017 Plough Play imminent. Enjoy.

Sankey’s costume meets its maker …

Technophobes beware! It’s official. Social media can actually be truly wonderful, even when it relates to things as old and traditional as plough plays. If you wade through the tidal wave of photos of cats belonging to people you’ve never met, and pointless quizzes asking ‘which brand of cheese are you?’ (or similar), you’ll find that Facebook also has a place for people who share information and snaps about things of a folky persuasion.

Ross Parish’s Traditional Calendar Customs and Ceremonies Facebook group, for example, is absolutely folking brilliant. Set up two years ago, its total membership numbers more than 2,000. And without us being in the group, we would never have heard from Andrea Robertson (spouse of former CRAPPPS member Ian Robertson) and never rediscovered a lovely little piece of Calvertonian folk history.

Jon T HJ 450x300There was the webmaster, innocently posting our Plough Play tour dates on Ross’ Facebook group, when in came a query from Andrea about the CRAPPPS Hopper Joe / Sankey Benny costume (modelled here by the divine Mister Jon Throup).

‘Is the costume still intact?’ asked Andrea. ‘I made it for the 1982 performance.’

Now. It isn’t that we’d call the CRAPPPS Hopper Joe costume ‘iconic’ or anything, but after more than thirty years of active service we’d argue it’s a pretty special and durable part of our history. It’s hard to imagine the character turning out in anything else.

So, after verifying from the photo of Jon that this was in fact the costume she’d made, Andrea explained the rather fab story behind it:

‘It was made in a hurry. (Ian) had previously been the Farmer’s Man and wore a warehouse coat for that. For Hopper Joe I just grabbed some sacking, some wool and a bloody big needle. We emigrated to South Africa for a couple of years, but when we got back (Ian) rejoined. He made a grand entrance into the Four Bells in 1986, as he’d acquired a pair of industrial clogs with irons, and fell flat on his backside the minute ‘In comes I’ was out of his mouth!’

Rich T HJ 450x300We’re happy to confirm that some of us fall flat on our backsides even now, Andrea, so perhaps things haven’t changed so much! Andrea described the costume as ‘a tad worn but serviceable’ when she last saw it. That’s a pretty apt description for members of the cast come the Saturday night of the run, too …

Huge thanks to Andrea for getting in touch with us and for sharing her story. Thirty-five years on, the costume she made will be attached to current Hopper Joe (Richard Throup) for the upcoming Plough Play run 12-14 January. Click here for a full list of tour dates.

  • Psst! Are you a former cast member of the CRAPPPS Plough Play, or been otherwise involved with the group in the past? Guess what? Our play is turning 40! We’re planning to celebrate in 2018 and would love to hear from you. Please send a message to us via the form on the website’s ‘Contact’ page.

Are you a 2017 Plough Play pub?

If you are, huge thanks for opening your doors to us on 12 – 14 January 2017 – your hospitality is very much appreciated. In letting us entertain you, you’re helping to preserve a vital English tradition. Our group has performed a Plough Play every year since 1979, based on a script first written in 1890.

Four Bells 450x300

You’re also helping us to raise funds for a great charity – Nottingham NSPCC (for whom we have raised more than £20k so far). To that end, it would be amazing if you could try to get as many people in your pubs to watch us (and donate anything they can afford) as possible.

Every penny you place in our hats and dripping pans goes directly to charity. Every drop of ale we consume on your premises we pay for ourselves.

William Web 200x300Web 2 2015

We’re doing 17 shows across 10 villages – Bleasby, Blidworth, Calverton, Epperstone, Farnsfield, Lambley, Lowdham, Oxton, Southwell and Woodborough.

If you’re a Plough Play pub, we’re coming to see you on the date and time you see here.

If you’re not a Plough Play pub, we very much hope you’ll bear us in mind for next year (and maybe drop us a line).

Thanks again. See you soon!

2017 Calverton Plough Play – FINAL Tour Dates

crappps-logo-300x316January 2017’s CRAPPPS Plough Play is on its way with final tour dates listed below. We’re playing 10 villages with 16 ports of call planned. Any changes to the schedule will be posted on this webpage, so check here first if you’re coming out to see us.

The 2017 tour will see us undertake our 39th consecutive year of Plough Play performances. The first ever run took place in 1979. Proceeds, as ever, will go to Nottinghamshire NSPCC.

Thursday 12th January 2017

  • Waggon and Horses, Bleasby – 8:00 pm
  • The Reindeer, Southwell – 8:45 pm
  • The Final Whistle, Southwell – 9:30 pm

Friday 13th January 2017

  • Admiral Rodney, Calverton – 7:15 pm
  • The Green Dragon, Oxton – 7:50 pm
  • The Plough, Farnsfield – 8:20 pm
  • The Lion, Farnsfield – 8:40 pm
  • The Fox and Hounds, Blidworth – 9:05 pm
  • Nag’s Head, Woodborough – 10:00 pm
  • Four Bells, Woodborough – 10:25 pm

Saturday 14th January 2017

  • Gleaners, Calverton – 7:20 pm
  • Ship Inn, Lowdham – 8:00 pm
  • World’s End, Lowdham – 8:30 pm
  • Robin Hood, Lambley – 9:00 pm
  • Woodlark, Lambley – 9:25 pm
  • Cross Keys, Epperstone – 10:00 pm
  • Admiral Rodney, Calverton – 10:30 pm

The Big Four Oh – Countdown Starts Today!

crappps-2017-flyer-back-490x350Now don’t get confused. Our forthcoming Plough Play tour will be the 39th consecutive run since the first ever CRAPPPS outing in 1979 (and that’s not in dispute, by the way – the sheer weight of carefully-scrutinised documentary evidence entirely bears this out).

But we reckon it’ll take us about a year to organise festivities for our official 40th anniversary bash in January 2018 because we’re just too addled to get things sorted any quicker. To that end, the planning and advertising starts now with this blurb and the lovely green flyer (right).

1979 Team 450x339

We’d love to get in touch with anyone and everyone with tales to tell about their exploits with the Calverton Plough Play. Have you:

  • been a performer (actor or musician) in the play?
  • been involved with the group in any other way?

But most importantly:

  • would you like to join us for our 40th anniversary bash in January 2018 – maybe to revive a part you used to play, or join our musicians and singers for a tuneful (?) trip down memory lane?

It’s all becoming rather ambitious, you know. We may even end up on the telly.

If you have memories to share, stories to tell or songs to sing, please do get in touch by email (address on flyer), via the website or via Twitter.

In comes you? We hope so …