THE 200-strong community cast of the Minster Mystery Plays gathered today, with the "rising star" of theatre and TV who is the take the lead role.

Game of Thrones and Coronation Street actor Philip McGinley will be the one professional actor in the performance, playing Jesus in the Mystery Plays the Minster this summer.

Wigan-born Philip said he was drawn to the role by the strong community involvement.

"That was the main attraction. I have seen community productions before, or community choruses involved in production. In the Sheffield Crucible for example they do a big production - it was hugely powerful with 50 people on stage there. The thought of four times that many people in one of the greatest buildings in Europe is so exciting, it's so epic.

"Although it is an unusual job, but in terms of any other creative people it's a no brainer really. It's such an exciting opportunity for an actor to learn and be part of something enormous."

The director Philip Breen said there was a sense of excitement for yesterday's read through, which could well be the last time the full cast is together before the final technical rehearsals.

He added: "We have the full cast here. It will be, I imagine, a rather joyous car crash but we will plough on regardless."

York Minster’s Nave will be transformed into a 1000-seater auditorium for five weeks of performances of the plays from Thursday, May 26.

Tickets are now on sale from , 01904 623568 or in person from the Theatre Royal’s Box Office at the De Grey Rooms in St Leonards Place, York, and York Minster’s visitor admission desks.