Pace egg plays keep alive Easter tradition

The Pace Egg play, said to be the oldest drama in the world, is being performed in the Calder Valley this Good Friday

Pace Egg plays on Easter tradition

Entertaining the crowds at Heptonstall Credit: Chris Radcliffe, HebWeb

It’s said to be the oldest drama in the world, dating back to ancient Egypt and performed by many civilisations across the centuries. But now the Pace Egg Play is confined largely to the Calder Valley where it has become an established tradition, played out in all its gory glory on Good Friday.

This year, without fail, St George takes on contenders such as Bold Slasher, the Black Prince of Paradine and Hector, aided and abetted by other equally outrageous characters such as Toss Pot and the Doctor.

Dean Gash is "Toss Pot" Credit: Chris Radcliffe - HebWeb
Strange headgear for Calder High's performance Credit: Chris Radcliffe - HebWeb

The costumes — in particular the strange headgear comprising a towering edifice garlanded with flowers, peculiar to the Calder Valley — are as much a part of the fun as the action, where violent sword fights predominate but, as ever, good triumphs over evil.

Good triumphs over evil Credit: Chris Radcliffe, HebWeb

Records of performances of the Pace Egg Play (the title is derived from "paschal," the old name for Easter) date back to the middle ages.

There are performances throughout today in and around Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, by both the adult Heptonstall players and their younger rivals, pupils of Calder High School in Mytholmroyd. For times and more information on the plays click here

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