Help the York Mystery Plays Keep Their Wagon Wheels Rolling

Photograph of Christ being nailed to the cross during a performance of The Crucifixion

Photo credit: Michael Baker

The Records of Early English Drama North East team have a long association with the York Mystery Plays – not least when they visited us in Durham to perform The Crucifixion as part of our Theatrum Mundi celebrations. But now the York Festival Trust need your help to maintain their long tradition of putting on mystery plays in the streets of York. 

After months of hard work behind the scenes the team at York Mystery Plays have established an amazing set of volunteers, sponsors and donors to make their 20th year a success. However, unfortunately the funding they were relying on from the Arts Council has not come through so they need a last little push to make this year’s Plays a theatrical spectacle for the whole community. After a lot of research the team have decided to go down the route of Crowdfunding to help get that last little bit of help that’s needed from the community to make it happen.

For 2018, York Festival Trust along with the Guilds, Groups and Companies involved in the productions of the Plays, are developing all aspects of the production to get as many people as possible to experience this amazing event. Dating back to Medieval times, the Mystery Plays are of huge cultural and historical significance to the city. Of the surviving collections of medieval “mystery” plays, the York cycle is by far the most complete, and arguably the most important to the history of English popular drama. In September, York Festival Trust will bring 11 of the original Plays to life on pageant wagons bringing music, theatre and spectacle to the city, with the communities of the City of York coming together to participate and celebrate this historic milestone.

Tom Straszewski, Pageant Master & Artistic Director of the York Mystery Plays says, “The Mysteries are a vital part of York’s heritage, but they’re not a museum piece, and they demand to be performed. We’ve got a huge range of people involved- butchers, builders, schoolkids, students, even a whole company of accountants. They’ve found something in the plays that they connect to- a push for freedom, the temptation of glory or worldly wealth, or even just the chance to dance and sing. I hope the audiences will respond just as heartily to their enthusiasm and talent, but to get there we need a last bit of funding. It’ll go towards stewards and signage, on props and costumes, on public lectures and workshops, and ensuring that each play is the best it can be. And for those further afield, it’s the chance to be a vital part of the production, helping to create another historic year for the York Mysteries.”

To achieve their target, they need £9,285 and have until 31st August 2018 to raise the funds through SpaceHive. If you would like to help keep this historic tradition alive in York, you can back the project here.

2 thoughts on “Help the York Mystery Plays Keep Their Wagon Wheels Rolling

  1. Would be willing to hep if they could get it right. This perverse wagon train theory has dragged on too long.
    Tried to tell them how it really was but nobody wanted to listen. See you at Leeds IMC when I try again.

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