Morris dancers join the tour of darkness in Dracula country

Towersey Morris in Viscri, a Unesco World Heritage village
Towersey Morris in Viscri, a Unesco World Heritage village

Morris dancers from Towersey and ukulele players from Berkhamsted have completed a summer tour of Transylvania in Romania, which saw them perform in Dracula’s town of birth.

Towersey Morris Dancers and the Berkhamsted Ukulele Random Players (BURP) left behind a cold and wet England as they headed into a Romanian heatwave with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees celsius.

The group of Brits undertook a hectic programme playing in four heritage locations over five consecutive days as they danced and played to enthusiastic crowds — including Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, the real-life inspiration for Dracula.

Kevin Prince, a BURP member, said: “We didn’t really know what to expect on our first visit to Transylvania,. We were amazed and delighted at the local hospitality and culture — it was a special trip that will live long in the memory.”

The two groups worked together in 10-minute shifts, with the musicians giving the dancers time to recover from the scorching heat.

Surrounded by rolling green hills in a landscape where horse and carts are commonplace, the Brits doubled their performance in Saschiz, a UNESCO World Heritage village where the trip organiser Jim Turnbull runs a food processing plant, which paved the way for the trip.

Jim met the Brits in 2016 at the Towersey Festival where he was running his Taste Transylvania stand, and, after drinking some of Turnbull’s elderflower brandy and getting on well, he invited the two groups to perform in the region where he produces his wares.

Jim, who also sponsored the event, said: “We have just had a wonderful few days. We hope this will become an annual event that grows in a way that promotes cultural diversity.”

For Hamish Currie, a member of BURP, a particular highlight of the trip was the interaction of the crowds who would sing and clap along.