THE campaign to save York's Mystery Plays - launched by the Evening Press after a wave of concern from city residents - has reached the national stage.

The Evening Press launched the campaign to save the Biblical plays, which are usually performed outdoors once every four years, after news that they may not be performed again until 2010 at the earliest.

The story featured in today's Guardian newspaper, with a focus on how the spectacular Millennium production of the plays in York Minster in 2000 may have upstaged the traditional outdoor version.

The article also highlights how modernisers hope that the Minster will continue to welcome the plays, with a production staged every ten years - creating a tradition to rival that of the passion play at Oberammergau, in Germany.

But Evening Press Chief Reporter Mike Laycock told The Guardian that the campaign to return the plays to Museum Gardens was launched after "a flood of calls, emails and letters from readers" who wanted the plays to retain their traditional feel and include all members of the community.

He said: "Actors were upset that they would not have the opportunity to take part, and parents were saddened that their children would miss the opportunity.

"Other residents were unhappy that they might never get another chance to see the plays."

Earlier this month, the Mystery Plays Association was launched, involving volunteers who have come forward with the aim of keeping the long-standing tradition alive.