York Mystery Plays take centre stage

Janice Barnes-Newton performs in The Raising of Lazarus as the York Mystery Plays get under way in Kings Square

Members of York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust perform The Entry into Jerusalem at St William’s College

York Mystery Plays are performed in Kings Square with actor Steve Denison in The Massacre of the Innocence

Members of York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust perform The Entry into Jerusalem at St William’s College

Updated in News by

THE waggons rolled across York's city-centre streets as the 2014 York Mystery Plays were staged at four stations this afternoon.

Under the artistic direction of Deborah Pakkar-Hull, 12 plays were performed, divided into two sessions from midday and mid-afternoon at Dean's Park, College Green, King's Square and King's Manor in warm conditions under grey skies with occasional spots of rain and even more occasional sunshine.

Mounted by the Guilds of York and the York Festival Trust, the pageant plays told the street version of Bible stories in medieval language and both modern and older dress, beginning as the Minster bells chimed for midday with the Guild of Building's presentation of The Creation of the World.

The day concluded with the Company of Merchant Adventurers' performance of the Last Judgement, given a "steampunk" design interpretation by director Emma Cunningham, designer Steven Ryan, costume designer Cheryl White and a cast featuring Pocklington School performers.

This year's Plays feature no fewer than seven actors playing Christ, who vary from a Jesus in flat cap and floral-backed waistcoat to a Jesus in a trilby, cravat and cream Oxford bags.

Memorable sights include a water-spouting whale in The Creation; the vicar of Heslington Church, the Reverend Jan Nobel, being "killed" by soldiers in a modern setting of the Massacre of Innocents; and the magnificent angel wings of the Sounds Fun community choir in the Guild of Scriveners' The Angels And Shepherds.

The plays will be repeated next Sunday with two changes of station: St Sampson's Square and Museum Gardens taking over from King's Square and King's Manor.

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