Film ID:
YFA 1178

THE PACE EGG

1960-1961

Visitor Tabs

Description

The Pace Egg play is performed each year on Good Friday in the towns and villages in the Upper Calder Valley.  The name derives from the Latin word for Easter - Pasche. This film documents the street performances of the play in which the actors are dressed in traditional mummers costumes.

The film opens with a train passing though the valley and a title which reads, “The Pace-Egg.”  The commentary explains that the Calder Valley is an industrial highway at the crossroads of many of the larger cities of Yorkshire and home to a diversity of industry in its own right.  This commentary is accompanied with examples of the various motorways and industrial buildings in the valley including Calder Mill.  The film then goes on to explain the history of the Calder Valley showing parts of the old towns, bridges, churches, and the early industrial factories near the water.  Children can be seen walking around the small lanes in an old town.  Additionally, sheep farms and the expansive moors which surround the valley can be seen.

Each year the players of the Pace-Egg walk through town and over the bridge to St. George’s Square where they perform this traditional play.  The commentary explains some of the history of the play and the significance of each of the characters.  The players make their way through town dressed in Mummers costume.  Specific to the Calder Valley plays is the character of Tosspot, an old coffee grinder.

Practically the entire village, from young children to the older members of the community, has turned out to watch the players displaying the close-knit fabric of village life.  The villagers are gathered, and many watch the play seated on a nearby stone fence.  The countryside can be seen in the background, and the film captures many examples of the crowd’s reactions to the play.

At the end of the Pace-Egg, the players as well as the spectators make their way back through town.  The commentary explains that they are indebted to H.W. Harwood.  He was the former chief reporter for the Halifax Currier and Guardian, and in working with head teacher of Midgley School, is responsible for the revival of the play.  The performances which took place in 1931 and 1932 were broadcast on the BBC, and in 1934 the broadcast took place directly from the streets of Calder Valley.  Harwood can be seen talking to the players from Calder High School.  The film then closes with a list of credits:

Produced and Edited by Peter Boocock
Filmed by P Boocock
     D Morley
     H Mallinson
     CC Thomas
Costume and Regalia the late P Patket
     V Whitaker
     R Garratt
     G Hines
     H Henstock
Historical Details Scriptwriter and Narrator
     Albert Greenwood
Cast of Boys Calder High School
Produced in Collaboration with HW Harwood
End