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32,000 see Mystery Plays’ historic return
Jo Keogh, a member of the backstage production team, wheels away a topiary giraffe from the set of the Mystery Plays after the last performance
MORE than 32,000 people watched the York 2012 Mystery Plays in Museum Gardens, organisers have revealed.
The spectacular production, which involved hundreds of volunteer cast and crew members, came to a close on Monday evening after opening on August 2.
Yesterday York Theatre Royal, one of the local organisations behind the production, said the total number of tickets sold was 32,780.
Monday’s finale took place on one of the wettest evenings of the year but those who saw the show spoke of a spectacular performance.
Peter Birkenshaw, of the Riding Lights Theatre Company, was one of those lucky enough to be in the audience.
“It was a fantastic performance and a great end to the run,” he said.
“The cast did particularly well considering it was one of the ones with the worst weather.”
Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, said: “York’s Mystery Plays have been a resounding success, despite some of the inclement weather, and this is testament to the energy and hard work of the director, cast and hundreds of volunteers involved in the production as well as everyone behind the scenes.
“The vision to produce the Plays back in their home of the Museum Gardens has paid off and we’d like to congratulate everyone involved.”
The plays returned to York following a 12-year absence and the 2012 version was adapted by Mike Kenny and co-directed by Damian Cruden and Paul Burbridge.
‘I’m so glad I decided to take on Mary role’
LYDIA Onyett, 21, was one of two actors chosen to play Mary, one of the main parts in the Mystery Plays.
The Cambridge graduate, who has moved back to York to continue her studies, told us about her experience.
“It was very strange because I heard about the auditions while I was down at university in Cambridge.
“I auditioned during my holidays and didn’t think anything much more of it, though I thought it would be nice to appear in the ensemble. Then Liam Evans-Ford, the community director, called me about the Virgin Mary role. “I thought ‘is this too much to take on?’ but the answer was definitely a yes and I am so so glad it was.
“The final night on Monday was a really emotional experience. It was emotional to say goodbye because we have got to know so many people.
“I would love to see it return in four years.
“Liam said there were so many people aged under 25 that he hoped there were lots of young people to take it on. Hopefully we have started a precedent for how the plays can be evolved. There’s much more we can do with them.”
THE weather may have been some of the worst endured by the cast, crew and audience during the latest Mystery Plays, but the final night was still a massive success.
Here’s what people were saying on Twitter:
• Poppy Newdick @poppypageturner - You smashed it - even in truly epic rainfall. A wonderful production.
• Jules Bellerby @Julesradio - Congrats to the York Mystery Plays which finished last night.
• Pocklington Arts PAC @PocklingtonArts - Congratulations to everyone @YorkMystery2012 - truly wonderful.
• Logis- tik CSR @Logistik-CSR Great night @York-Mystery2012 last night. Lots of rain but 3 days @Galtres had prepared me well! Really enjoyed the performance
• Sheffeventus @sheffeventus #York Mystery Plays were superb.
• YorkMysteryPlays2012 @YorkMystery2012 What a beautiful morning. Looks perfect weather to stage some epic outdoor theatre!#ironic We’ll just have to party instead!#mysteryplays