Ferdinand Kingsley, the son of Scarborough-born stage and screen star Ben Kingsley, will play both roles in this summer’s York Mystery Plays.
The 24-year-old, described by artistic directors Damian Cruden and Paul Burbridge as an ‘exciting young talent', will join 500 amateurs taking part in the month-long spectacular in the Museum Gardens in August.
Ferdinand, who has performed in productions for The National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, said he was delighted to accept the roles.
“The production promises to be spectacular, its scale and ambition are hugely exciting and the setting of St Mary's Abbey seems perfect,” he said.
“Britain is brimming with fantastic theatre this year, and I really think The York Mystery Plays could prove to be one of the highlights.”
He will start rehearsals in early July and a second professional, who will play the Devil, will be announced in the next few weeks. The plays will be staged throughout August amid the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey.
Mr Cruden and Mr Burbridge said it was always their intention to cast a young actor in the role of God/Jesus. “We were keen that God should be portrayed as a young father with children (Adam and Eve), creative and energetic,” they said.
“In Ferdinand Kingsley, we are delighted to have discovered a young actor more than capable of fulfilling this desire and bringing to the stage such a complex double.
“He is an exciting young talent with Northern roots who has shown a sensitivity to the subject, an understanding of the text and a passion for the project.”
Ferdinand, whose father sprang to fame in the 1982 film Ghandi, has theatre credits including Hamlet and Welcome to Thebes for The National Theatre and Troilus and Cresssida, and Little Eyolf for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His TV and film credits include the BBC’s Vincent Van Gogh: Painted With Words and The Last Legion. He will also be in Richard II, which is part of the BBC’s Shakespeare season to be aired later this year.