2019 Calverton St George’s Play – Tour Schedule

We’re really rather chuffed to confirm that we’ll be hitting a number of fine Nottinghamshire hostelries on Saturday 20 April 2019 with the 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 20 April 2019

  • The Ship, Lowdham – 1:00 pm
  • Robin Hood, Lambley – 2:30 pm
  • Woodlark, Lambley – 3:15 pm
  • Nags Head, Woodborough – 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm [*]
  • Four Bells, Woodborough – 5:45 pm or 6:45 pm [*]
  • Admiral Rodney, Calverton – 7:30 pm or 8:30 pm [*]

[*] = start times dependent on bus timetables. We’re on public transport!

Once again we’ll be aiming to raise a significant wodge of cash for charity and this year will be performing in support of Maggie’s Centre, Nottingham City Hospital.

Maggie’s provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. It’s a brilliant cause, so please 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 down the pub!

Plough Play 41 – Completely CRAPPPS-tastic!

Wearing daft costumes and waving dripping pans at pub-goers never grows old. Once again, we’ve raised a record-breaking amount of money for charity.

The 2019 Calverton Plough Play saw the good folk of CRAPPPS raise more than a grand (again) for Nottingham NSPCC, with the final barnstorming total from the collection being a whopping £1,349.97. This means that we’ve raised more than £27k for charity since the very first collection in 1979.

The total includes funds raised from the 17 performance run of the Plough Play on 10 – 12 January and our appearance at Lowdham’s Cider, Perry and Juicing Festival at the end of last year.

As a spectacle (Really? You’ll be calling it an ‘art form’ next – Ed.) the play itself continues to evolve, though the words spoken are still largely faithful to the original Cropwell Bishop script of 1890.

Duelling Dame Janes (pictured) doubling up to harangue Beelzebub may not have been in the programme back in 1890, mind, but they absolutely delighted audiences in 2019, as did a spontaneously reworked 18th birthday party version of the show for one (un) lucky audience member at The Admiral Rodney at the run’s finale on the Saturday night.

Audiences may also have spotted one of the characters undergoing a somewhat historic gender change. A hearty welcome, then, to Hannah Cupitt (daughter of one of the original CRAPPPS founders Michael Cupitt) as one of the Plough Play’s newest acting members, doubling-up with other newbie Kenny Quilty in the role of Threshing Blade.

Thank you to the pubs for continuing to plug us so wonderfully and to customers / audience members / hapless victims / delete as applicable for coming out in force to see us. Your hospitality and generosity are, as ever, very much appreciated.

We’re planning to be back on the road with our St George’s Play in April – watch this space.

Right. Time for a lie down.

The £26k Dripping Pan

Back in March 2015 we revealed that CRAPPPS had raised circa £22k for charity since we took our first collection in 1979.

Nearly four years on, a fresh look at Beelzy’s spreadsheet tells us that total funds raised by CRAPPPS have now exceeded £26k.

This figure includes record-breaking takings of circa £1.5k (above) raised for Nottingham NSPCC from the 2018 Plough Play run and 40th anniversary ceilidh hosted by the brilliant Sheepish Grin (John Crawford and Richard Mecia pictured below) at Calverton Village Hall.

We’re very pleased to announce this updated figure and look forward to entertaining you for many more years to come.

Huge thanks from us, to you, for your continuing support.

Please don’t ask me what the plot is … the Plough Play reviewed

  • Ever wondered what this Plough Play thing is all about? You’re not the only one. Reviewer David Longford rather enjoyed one of our previous performances at The Woodlark in Lambley. Thanks to him for the following very kind words.

‘The Plough Play is a traditional mumming play that took place on the first Monday after twelfth night (Plough Monday) and was an opportunity for the local plough boys to earn a bit extra by going round to the ‘big’ houses and offering some entertainment. Not only did it provide the lads with some extra pennies during the dark winter period, but it also signals and heralds in the New Year.

The Calverton Real Ale and Plough Play Preservation Society (CRAPPPS) have been perpetuating the tradition, routinely visiting local pubs around Calverton over three consecutive nights and performing this short, daft and entertaining piece.

I enjoyed it enormously. It is unpretentious, basic, pure grassroots theatre. My enjoyment is aided enormously by sitting in the cosy confines of The Woodlark, with a roaring fire and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord on tap.

Please don’t ask me what the plot is. There are several characters, including two recruiting sergeants, Beelzebub, a couple of blokes in drag, one of whom dies and a quack doctor who brings her back to life. There’s a bit of music, song and lots of lovely wordplay and rhyme. Apparently it’s based on the traditional Calverton Plough Play text from way back when, but I’m guessing that the references to Viagra and Brazilians are fairly new additions.

It’s surreal and a bit incomprehensible, but just sit there, sup your pint and go with it. It’s performed with bravado and a complete disregard to theatrical convention or niceties. The bloke who played Beelzebub came in, said his lines and then instantly turned round and ordered himself a drink at the bar. Brilliant!

And yet in watching this quirky little piece you can see how all theatre, whether it’s simple stuff like this or some of the grander pieces, is all inter-connected. Men dressing up as women is not just limited to Panto and mumming can be dated back to Shakespeare’s time. Peter Quince, Bottom and the rest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with their crude and broad delivery are clearly a mummer’s troupe of sorts.

But this really isn’t an evening for criticism or scholarly review. Just enjoy the fun whilst you’re in your local boozer and then give them a couple of quid. All of the money they collect goes to the local NSPCC.

So they do their bit, have a quick beer and then on to the next pub. I stay for another pint (or two), grab my coat and torch and then head off home up a dark Catfoot Lane, feeling distinctly merry. Now that’s a good night out at the theatre.’

Are you a 2019 Plough Play pub?

If you are, huge thanks for opening your doors to us on 10 – 12 January 2019 – 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.

You’re also helping us to raise funds for a great charity – Nottingham NSPCC. 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.

We’re doing 17 shows at the villages and venues 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!

2019 Calverton Plough Play – FINAL Tour Dates

January 2019’s CRAPPPS Plough Play is on its way with final tour dates listed below. Any changes to the schedule will be posted on this webpage, so check here first if you’re planning to come out to see us.

The 2019 tour will see us undertake our 41st consecutive year of Plough Play performances. The first ever run took place in 1979. Proceeds, as ever, will go to Nottinghamshire NSPCC.

Thursday 10th January 2019

  • Waggon & Horses, Bleasby – 7:45 pm
  • The Reindeer, Southwell – 8:30 pm
  • The Final Whistle, Southwell – 9:00 pm

Friday 11th January 2019

  • 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 – 9:15 pm
  • Nag’s Head, Woodborough – 9:50 pm
  • Four Bells, Woodborough – 10:10 pm

Saturday 12th January 2019

  • Gleaners, Calverton – 7:20 pm
  • World’s End, Lowdham – 8:00 pm
  • The Railway, Lowdham – 8:30 pm
  • The Ship, Lowdham – 8:50 pm
  • Woodlark, Lambley – 9:25 pm
  • Cross Keys, Epperstone – 10:00 pm
  • Admiral Rodney, Calverton – 10:30 pm

CRAPPPS at 40 – Party Time 17/03/2018

Bold Tom (Calverton revival version) and his entourage of oddly-dressed comrades first knocked on the doors of pubs in Calverton, Notts, and its surrounding villages in January 1979.

In January 2018, the Calverton Real Ale and Plough Play Preservation Society (CRAPPPS) performed its 40th consecutive annual tour of Plough Plays, fondly recalling the contribution, enthusiasm and dedication [*] of group members past and present and local legends absent, beloved and never-to-be forgotten.

The group has seen numerous changes in personnel over the years. It has seen triumph and tragedy, hurrahs and heartbreak, fair weather and foul – but has persevered nonetheless with this glorious owd folk tradition with a spring in its step, ale in its belly and pride in its heart.

Somewhere in the middle of all of it, CRAPPPS has raised nearly £30,000 for children’s charities.

It’s also added a new Calvertonian tradition (the St George’s Play) to its canon, now in its 8th year of touring and going strong.

So we’d like to invite you to a right owd knees up at Calverton Village Hall on Saturday 17 March 2018 to celebrate – er, well all of the above – and to raise a glass to another 40 years on the road for CRAPPPS.

It’ll be a foot stomping, toe-tapping ceilidh with the brilliant Sheepish Grin (John Crawford and Richard Mecia – pictured above) presiding. There’ll be mumming, merriment and memory-laning. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Nottingham NSPCC.

So … in comes you? Tickets now on sale (£8 adults / FREE for under 15s) – you can ring 07491 644581 to book or book online here.

[*] = surely ‘medication’ – Ed.


Plough Play 40! We thank you for civility …

… and what you’ve given us here. After a week getting back to normal after a simply storming 2018 CRAPPPS Plough Play run, the rather terrific news is that the efforts of the team over last weekend (11-13 January) saw Beelzy’s dripping pan bulging to the tune of £937.94 for Nottingham NSPCC (not including the 40 Vietnamese Dong, 1 Jersey 20 pence piece, 4 US cents and 1 Morrison’s shopping trolley token).

Special thanks to the pubs who invited us in so hospitably, the crowds who received us so wonderfully and all of you who gave so generously.  We’ll be back in March with a special CRAPPPS 40th anniversary celebration (event details to be announced next week) and in April with our St George’s Play.


2018 Plough Play Run Finished

And 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 our very special 40th anniversary 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 11-13 January – it was hugely appreciated.

Stuff To Do

Organising the annual CRAPPPS Plough Play can be very demanding.

That said, Beelzy’s list of jobs gets weirder every year.

We presume the last item is something to do with his costume.

Best not mention it, heh?

  • The Calverton Plough Play runs this week, Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 January. See our tour list here – we very much look forward to seeing you!