History Today: Northgate’s first panto appearance

Some History

We have recently been contacted by local historian Dr Vin Rouge, who works in the Department of Historic Panto and Dance  the University of Bathford near to our lovely home city. It’s fair to say that the good doctor was in a state of some excitement.

He is currently working on a project to shed some light on the mysterious roots of Bath’s favourite sword dancers, and has recently gained possession of what he describes as “a treasure trove of swordly delight.”

Dr Rouge added, “It’s evidence like this that makes my life complete. Imagine, an old photograph of some people dancing. In a panto!”

Some people are very easily pleased.

Nevertheless, we were pleased to see this early photograph of Northgate in action at a production of the pantomime Eric the Viking, either at the London Palladium or Bathford Village Hall. Looking at the stage, it’s probably the former.

The photo was taken in the late 1990s by the look of our fashionable kit.

Now, it’s been some years since we trod the boards in panto, but we always thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re running a panto and want to add some mild peril, give us a call.

Yeah, Whatever. Are you practising this week?

Of course we are. Join us at The Curfew at 19:30 on Tuesday night.

Thanks, but where is that?

It’s behind you(*).

Actually, it’s in Bath.

(*) Obligatory panto joke. Sorry.

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Extra special appearance at CurFest festival this Sunday!

Just when you thought the season was coming to an end and that we had only one more festival left, we’ve been booked for the awesome CurFest on Sunday!

This is, as you have no doubt worked out, a festival at our beloved home, The Curfew in Bath. It runs from noon till very late at night, and it’s all for a very good cause: Dorothy House Hospice Care.

We’ve got the much sought-after opening spot, which coincidentally frees us up for a party in the afternoon followed by a crawl in the evening. That’s a bit of luck.

Enough about you, what’s at the CurFest?

Oh, OK then. Well, there’ll be a day full of live music, barbecue, awesome popup bars from the great Corkage wine bar and the amazing Hideout whisky bar, and a raffle with some spectacular prizes, including brewery tours, distillery tours and, erm, tattoos.Obviously.

It promises to be a great day, so get on down there!

Will there be blades of death?

Oh yes.

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Controversy as Number One Regenerates into a Woman

The Doctor Dances

There was uproar in Bath today as Northgate announced that their Number One was going to regenerate into a woman during their anniversary crawl.

“Jerome has been fantastic in this position for the last few years,” said Squire Martin, “but times change, and so must we.”

The role will be picked up by Jodie Whittaker, the much acclaimed dancer who played the sword-dancing mother-of-a-murdered-child in ITV’s Broadchurch. Jodie said, “Anyone who doesn’t understand why we’re doing this should pay more attention. We need to bring Northgate into a new era by piggybacking on a massively controversial announcement by the BBC, thus gaining ourselves loads of free publicity.”

Squire Martin added, “Indeed.”

Several whining manbabies on the internet have complained about the move, some saying it’s political correctness gone mad, but most of them upset because they’ll miss Jerome’s trademark hipster beard. We understand their concern, and Jodie has therefore promised to wear a fake beard for her first few performances.

She went on to say, “Actually, I’ve just seen a video of that forward tumble thing… I’m not so sure about this now.”


This is all a clever and convincing work of fiction backed by super high tech CGI. A lie, if you will. Nevertheless, you can still come along an join practice with the unregenerated Jerome tonight at 19:30 in the splendid Curfew in Bath.

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Priddy Festival done, and Gus pops his cherry

Jumping Jonathan

Well, that’s the end of Priddy Folk Festival for another year, and what a delightful time we had in the beautiful Somerset village. And Gus had something even more exciting in store for him!

The weather was great, the music was superb (special call out to Flook and Lasair), and the dancing was most entertaining.

Well, ours was, naturally, but our good friends Silver Flame Rapper  from Bristol were as amazing as ever, especially their superb (and slightly faster than normal) ceilidh spot on Saturday evening. Pigsty Morris also put on a fine show, and NYFTE covered off more dance styles than anyone could ever have though possible. Fantastic!

Gus’ First Time

Now, whenever we’re at a festival, we make a special point of dancing in all the pubs in town and Priddy festival was no exception. Indeed, we had such a good time we went back to it again and again.

Our first dance there saw new member Gus perform his first public dance and, as it was deemed of a high enough standard, he was ritually debagged by an attractive member of the audience as is our tradition. His mum shed a tear when she saw him dance a bit later, dressed to kill in his grown up short trousers.What a proud moment it was for her. Every mother’s dream.

Special Thanks

We’d like to pass on our special thanks to Priddy Good Farm Shop for their most excellent breakfasts, the huge number of breweries and cider presses who provided the liquid refreshments, and of course the Queen Victoria Inn for their addictive cheesy chips.

Quo Vadis?

Well, we’re going to The Curfew in Bath on Tuesday night at 19:30 for practice, and you should jolly well come along and join us.

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Priddy folk Festival – here we come!

We’re short of time this week as we have a lot of prep to do for Priddy Folk Festival this weekend, from the washing and ironing of sashes and shirts to the cleaning and polishing of shoes and indeed the mildly dangerous blades themselves. It’s a hard life.

We take festival appearances very seriously, you see, and don’t leave anything to chance. With the exception of Edwin’s arrival time.

And in between all that preparation, we have to make time to watch awesome fellow rapper dancer Tom as he continues to crush all opposition on Countdown! What a guy.

Anyway, we consequently have no time for witty repartee and amusing innuendos this week, so that’s your lot, except to say you can meet us tonight at 19:30 in The Curfew in Bath, where we’ll let you handle our shafts*.

(*) Well, perhaps a little bit of innuendo after all.

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Three down, two to go: Priddy Folk Festival approaches!

In just over a week, Northgate will be heading down to the delightful Somerset village of Priddy for our fourth festival of the summer.

Accommodation is a little basic

With Bradford, Chippenham and Wimborne Minster festivals behind us, we’re very much looking  forward to this one as we haven’t been to it for about twenty years! We’re also keen to get stuck into the pub crawl (of the delightful Queen Vic Inn), though we suspect we may need to cast the net slightly wider and bring a few more pubs into the mix.


Also appearing will be our Bristol cousins Silver Flame Rapper, who will be bringing their own magnificent dances with them, and the amazing Lasair, a ceilidh band who really will get everyone dancing!

Are you going to make any jokes about it being Priddy good?


Can I see a preview of this excitement?

Good grief, of course you can! Get along to The Curfew in Bath any Tuesday night from 19:30 onwards. We’ll be the noisy ones upstairs: come and say hello! And why not give it a go while you’re there? You know it makes sense.

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Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, here we come!

So, with Bradford on Avon and Chippenham folk festivals under our belts already, we hard-working lads of Northgate head south today to the lovely town of Wimborne Minster for our third festival of the year.

We have the standard dance spots, processions and ceilidh appearances, but inevitably this is not enough for us. We will be spending any free time on Saturday invading the town’s pubs (politely, of course) to bring the festival where it belongs: inside, next to the bar.

And if that weren’t enough, we’ve arranged to dance at a brewery tonight. Blimey.

Do you have anything else to add?

No. Get down to Dorset and have some sword-related fun. See you there.

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Fully recovered, practice is back, then Wimborne Minster Folk Festival!

Northgate will be big in Wimborne Minster

Following the punishing (and mostly self-inflicted) dance schedule we had at the amazing Chippenham Folk Festival, the lads of Northgate decided to take  last week off. Sadly, this meant we missed both a beer practice at The Curfew and a chance to meet up with our chums from Oxfordshire, Mabel Gubbins Rapper, at the Wessex Folk Festival in Weymouth yesterday. Boo. Even worse, we also missed the wonderful music of the great Foxglove Trio. Boo again.

However, there is a happy ending to all this, and we all like a happy ending.

This period of rest means we’re all nicely recovered for next weekend’s spectacular Wimborne Minster Folk Festival! Running over the weekend in the beautiful Wimborne Minster, this promises to be a great addition to our festival visits this year. We’ve even got an invitation to dance at a brewery (Eight Arch Brewing) to get things off to a good start, and possibly ruin us for the rest of the weekend.

Wish us luck, and come and join us in Wimborne Minster, in Dorset. In fact, we’d recommend it to anyone(*).

But wait… you mentioned practice!

Indeed we did. If you can’t wait until next Friday, get along to The Curfew in Bath on Tuesday night at 19:30. We’ll even let you touch our swords.

(*) This comment taken from our new book, Weak Puns from Northgate.

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Chippenham Festival done, and we’re taking a week’s holiday


We’ve just got back from our weekend playing at the great Chippenham Folk Festival, and we’ve had an amazing time.

Over the weekend, we danced somewhere around 45 times, doing rapper, longsword and, in a surprising twist, solo jigs.

We ran a couple of well-attended rapper workshops, having inducted many people into the ways of running with blades in reasonable safety. We took a new team out on their very

Caffe Nero, of all places

first crawl, incorporating all the pubs we could find in town.

We danced at ceilidhs, including the to the fantastic Lasair, and in the streets, and on stages without count.

Oh, and having run out of pubs to dance in, we turned to coffee shops. Caffe Nero were particularly pleased to have us.

So a big thanks to the festival organisers. Two festivals down, three to go!

You’re taking a week off?

Hell, yes. See you next week at The Curfew!

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Chippenham Festival timetable released!

Northgate dance spots

Northgate’s dance spots

We’ve been asked by a surprising number of people where we’ll be appearing at Chippenham and when. Always ones to court any kind of adoration, we take great pleasure in publishing this timetable of what we’ll be up to this bank holiday weekend at the fantastic Chippenham Folk Festival.


Saturday is a rather busy day, starting with an appearance in the Arena followed by a workshop for anyone brave enough to want to learn how to run with swords in relative safety. After this we’ll be dancing around the town until the evening, when we’re setting off on a quick nine pub crawl. Should be a giggle.


Sunday is pretty light in comparison, but you can expect us to be around the pubs are per usual, bringing our own special brand of mild peril to a gasping audience.


We’re holding a workshop for more advanced dancers on the Monday morning, including any survivors from the beginners’ workshop on Saturday.

Expect much more in the way of indoor entertainment throughout the day, though possibly from a rather jaded side…

Can we see you beforehand?


But next Tuesday you can come along and meet the team at the splendid Curfew in Bath from 19:30 onwards.

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