THE York Mystery Plays will be performed this summer - but as a relatively small-scale production in a new indoor setting.

While campaigners wait to see whether a large-scale production can be staged again in the Museum Gardens in 2005 or 2006, the Friends Of The York Mystery Plays And Festival are to stage their own performance during the city's Early Music Festival in July.

Chairman Robert Ward said: "Our production will be called The Last Supper and will concern the period leading up to that final meeting of Jesus and his disciples before his betrayal by Judas.

"The production will be performed, as usual, during the York Early Music Festival between July 5 and 10, but at Trinity Hall in Monkgate, York."

Director Ray Alexander said the venue was a break with tradition.

"In the past, we have performed either on pageant wagons in the streets or in medieval churches, but this time we are going for the modern theatrical space created by John Cooper for his Stagecoach Youth Theatre. It opens up some exciting possibilities for us to be able to express the sentiment of the piece more sincerely without having to shout above revving cars and the emptying of council rubbish bins."

He said he would be looking for a cast of approximately 30 people, most of whom would have speaking parts. "I would like to hear from anyone who would like to take part both on or off stage," he said.

Tickets for the plays will be available from the National Centre for Early Music, off Walmgate, York.

Mr Ward said the Friends were proud of the tradition for the people of York to perform their plays in the city. "But we hope that this production will not be the 'last supper' for the Mystery Plays," he said.

The Evening Press launched its campaign to keep the plays alive last year after it emerged that the big outdoor event would not take place in 2004, as should have happened under the traditional four-year cycle.

A report by an expert consultant on the feasibility of reviving that event is expected to be published shortly.