THE Guilds of York have confirmed that the York Mystery Plays will be staged again in 2006 - on the back of pageant wagons.

They say the Plays are to be performed at various locations around the city, in line with medieval custom, on July 9 and 16.

The decision to stage the wagon plays again follows on from successful productions in 1994, 1998 and 2002, the latter of which involved more than 300 people.

"Ten wagons processed through the streets of York to perform their play at five different locations, creating hours of drama," said Roger Lee, chairman of the York Guilds Wagons Plays Board.

"This time, expressions of interest have been received from additional groups wanting to be involved.

"The 1998 and 2002 productions met with great popular, academic and critical acclaim, and we hope to build on this success with our 2006 production.

"In their medieval heyday, the Plays and the Guilds were inextricably linked, and it is this heritage we are reclaiming with these regular four-yearly productions.

"The great medieval City of York absorbed the spirit of its times and evolved in these Plays its own version of artistic self-expression. We hope that here in today's city we can recreate something which draws on this tradition whilst still being relevant to our own times."

The Plays are also to be performed indoors this summer by the Friends Of The York Mystery Plays And Festival.

They will take place during York Early Music Festival from July 5 to 10 at Stagecoach Youth Theatre York, in Trinity Hall, Monkgate. Meanwhile, hopes of staging a large-scale Mystery Plays again on an open-air fixed stage, such as the Museum Gardens, are still under discussion. Under the normal four-year cycle, the Plays would currently be in the middle of a month-long run, but no body came forward to organise them in 2004. There are hopes that the tradition can be revived again in future years, but concerns have been expressed about the difficulties of staging such a production in the same year as the plays are performed on wagons.

Another complicating factor is whether or not York Minster intends to repeat its successful Millennium Mystery Plays in 2010.