ENORMOUS helium-filled balloons are to be used to represent the planets in this summer's York Minster Mystery Plays.

The eight planets and a sun will rise and float through the cathedral as the story of Creation is told, said community director Sophie Paterson.

"At the top of the show, God enters upstage and creates heaven, earth and hell and we have this line of the universe come through the space and fill the auditorium," she said.

"They will light up from the inside, which will be really beautiful."

She said ensemble members would take responsibility for the planets, after being hooked up to harnesses attached to the balloons.

Rehearsals would take place with members walking around the cathedral, attaching and detaching their harnesses to make sure everyone was safe and moving freely.

"It's all fine and well sitting in the rehearsal space saying this is how it will work but it's a very different thing when you come into the space and you see it all coming to fruition," she said.

"This is a very exciting time on any production, right before you get into 'tech', when you see all the elements coming in to play and you finally see the show."

The planets are the idea of designer Max Jones, a London-based theatre designer who has designed productions across the UK including for Shakepeare’s Globe, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Clwyd Theatre Cymru, where he is an Associate Artist.

The plays, the first to be staged in the Minster since the acclaimed Millennium Mystery Plays were staged in 2000, opens on Thursday May 26 and runs until Thursday June 30, with the Nave transformed into a 1,000-seater auditorium.

A spokeswoman said tickets for the Plays were selling well, in line with targets, but a further marketing drive would take place over coming weeks to boost sales further.

Tickets can be bought via www.yorkminster.org/mysteryplays2016 or by calling 01904 623568.