Since 1998 The York Guilds have, through their charity York Festival Trust, created pageant wagon spectaculars on the City streets, just as in medieval times. These have been every four years, the last being in 2010. These productions have involved around 400 local people in all sorts of roles and have brought great drama and pageantry to visitors and locals alike.
11th and 12th August will see 'The Creation to the Fifth Day' and 'Noah' performed at two locations - West End of the Minster and College Green. These performances will be free to view and open to all.
The popularity of Mystery Plays in general has grown over the last few years with groups in Chester, Coventry and Litchfield regularly performing their own plays. In Lincoln, Durham, Aldermarston, Gloucester, Manchester and Cardiff, plays have either been borrowed from other cities or new scripts created from original texts. The power of these plays as community drama and their ability to speak to the religious and non-religious audience alike is remarkable.
In an attempt to learn more about this phenomenon and to bring performing groups together to share experiences and learn from each other we will be holding a symposium at the National Centre for Early Music on 11th August following on from the wagon performances. Confirmed speakers so far are from York, Chester and Gloucester.
The symposium is open to all at a small charge of £15 which includes refreshments, lunch, wine and breakfast networking. The timing is such that anyone who wishes to see the Museum Gardens production will have time to do so.
10.30am. Coffee at Bedern Hall then walk to Museum Gardens
11.00am Wagons from York process to performance stations
(Visitors welcome to follow or meet up at stations)
11.30am First play performed at West End of Minster (Creation to Fifth Day)
Noon. Second play performed at West end of Minster (Noah)
12.10pm. First play performs on College Green
12.40pm. Second play performs on College Green
1.00pm. Wagons return to Museum Gardens
1.30 to 2.30pm Lunch and Registration for afternoon presentations at NCEM.
2.45pm Welcome and introduction –York, Chair of York Festival Trust, Roger Lee
2.50pm Start of sessions 3 @ 20 mins incl. Q&A
(York – Steve Bielby & Tony Wright, Practitioners; Jo Sykes, Chair Chester Mystery Plays; Phil McCormick, Chair Gloucester Mystery Plays)
4.15pm Comfort break
4.30pm 2 sessions @ 20 mins inc Q&A
(Geoff Readman, Chair Lincoln Mystery Plays; Ros Halifax, Chair Lichfield Mysterys)
5.15pm Wine & Networking
7.30pm. 2012 production starts in Museum Gardens
for those who have purchased tickets (Ticket Line 01904 623568)
10.00am Breakfast network at Bedern Hall
11.00 am. Performances as Saturday
2.00pm. Lecture by Dr. Mike Tyler ( Director 2002, 2006 Production) supported by Paul Toy and Lesley Wilkinson ( Co-Directors 2010), Dr. Robert Wright (York) and Dr Joanna Huntington ( Lincoln and York). Tempest Anderton Hall, Museum Gardens.
Ticket event (Ticket Line 01904 623568)