The Oyster Girls
The Oyster Girls started in 1981 mainly because a lot of the girls were wags of The Men of Wight and fed up with just fetching their ale. Men, at that time were strongly against woman being morris dancers although records can be found of woman dancing morris some 500 years ago with a strong revival from 1970 onwards.
We chose the name 'Oyster Girls', because, living on an island, we wanted our name to have some association with the sea. After great deliberation, we settled on our outfits of emerald green dresses with gold and red trimmings, copious amounts of bells on our clogs and our, now famous, bloomers. How you get a team of ladies to decide on a dress was written about by one of our members and printed in She magazine. Sadly, the lady in question has since passed away. We follow the North/West tradition of dance, adding a few of our own dances as we go along and naming them after places and buildings of interest on the Island.
The team practice throughout the winter on a Wednesday evening in Newport and new members are always welcome. From April/May we dance outside pubs every Wednesday evening and we are usually invited to dance at all the major events on the Isle of Wight, including Robin Hill May Festival, St George´s Day (Rotary) in Cowes, The Old Gaffers Festival in Yarmouth, The Steam Up at Havenstreet Station, The Bestival and Alum Bay. We go to festivals on the mainland and abroad and visited St Malo, France in 2006.
We socialise closely with the other morris and folk teams on the Island and have to stress that the social side of morris life is so important, it cuts across every age group. It has also taught many of us Oyster Girls to play musical instruments.
Article Courtesy of Avril Harris www.oystergirls.org.uk