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Feature: ‘A New Kentucky Mummer’s Play’


Morehead State’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance has teamed up with Kentucky Center for Traditional Music to bring back a production last seen in the late 90’s. MSPR’s Jordan Simonson reports…

A new work will premiere in November which is a collaborative effort among the Morehead State University’s Department of Music, Theater and Dance, Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, Rowan County elementary schools’ music programs and several area actors and musicians. 

“A New Kentucky Mummer’s Play” is the revival of a work created in 1998 by Dr. Roma Prindle, associate professor of music. 

MSU OperaWorks presented the work throughout the region for three years, culminating in a 12-day tour of Ireland in 2001. The new work begins similarly to the original work, in that it maintains the celebratory aspect of the rich and diverse musical and cultural heritage of the people who settled in the Appalachian Mountains. But it takes a turn into the 21st century, addressing some of the contemporary challenges facing residents of the Kentucky Highlands. 

The play incorporates some of the many facets that have played into what we know as mountain living today. It brings to light, contributions from the original residents, the Cherokee, to the Scots-Irish settlers, African-American railroad workers, European miners, and the more recent Asian, and Hispanic immigrants. 

Featured in the production will KCTM’s White Horse String Band, a children’s chorus from the Rowan County Schools, an old fashioned gospel quartet, traditional mountain folk dances, various instrumental numbers, and several tunes that the audiences will be familiar and invited to join in the singing. 

“A New Kentucky Mummer’s Play” will be presented on Thursday, Nov. 7, and Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rowan County Arts Center, 205 East Main Street. 

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and non-MSU students. MSU students may attend free of charge with student ID cards. 

Additional information may be obtained by calling Dr. Prindle at 606-783-2481.