SUNDAY is the second chance to see all 11 plays in the 2018 staging of the York Mystery Plays on pageant wagons, promenaded through the city streets in an age-old battle between good and evil.

Last weekend's opening performances at The Green, The Fair, The Streets and The Stage were followed last night by The Mysteries After Dark, when James Swanton's Devil requested your company at his satanic Mysteries, playing master of ceremonies to five of the plays at Shambles Market.

Presented by the York Festival Trust and Guilds of York under the artistic direction of Pageant Master Tom Straszewski, the 2018 street plays match five Old Testament stories with five from the New Testament, culminating in Judgement Day, brought forth by the Ravens Morris for the Company of Merchant Adventurers, at four stations between 11am and 5.30pm.

For Creation, the York Guild of Building’s Creation To The Fifth Day is paired with York’s newest guild, the Guild of Media Arts, staging The Annunciation and Visitation; Temptation then links The Fall Of Man, performed by the Vale of York Academy for the Gild of Freemen, with The Temptation Of Christ, the Company of Cordwainers’ play.

Betrayal combines Cain And Abel, staged by The Lords Of Misrule for the Company of Merchant Taylors, and The Remorse Of Judas, the York St John University Players’ contribution. Sacrifice puts together the Guild of Scriveners’ Abraham And Isaac and the Company of Butchers’ The Crucifixion And Death of Christ. Liberation places Moses And Pharaoh, by St Luke’s Church, York, opposite The Harrowing Of Hell, by the York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust.

As ever with the four-yearly staging of a selection of the York Cycle of Mystery Plays, the 2018 production requires the participation of hundreds, from actors to musicians, wagon masters to stage builders, wagon-pushing teams to Guild dignitaries, church groups to Morris dancers, theatre companies to community players, directors to costume makers.

"It's the biggest theatre event I've organised so far, but part of what makes it manageable is that there's such a wealth of goodwill, with 11 fantastic directors working on their own play and co-operating with each other at the same time," says Straszewski. "All of the Guilds support it so strongly; trust chairman Roger Lee and event co-ordinator Ben Pugh are a superb central team, backed by a host of volunteers working as stewards, site managers, wagon pushers, scenery painters and prop makers.

York Press:

Megan Heywood as the Whore-Queen of Babylon in Judgement Day, the Ravens Morris's play for the Company of Merchant Adventurers. Picture: Lewis Outing

"What's marvellous is that there are some people taking part who not only have never done the Mystery Plays before, but also have never done any theatre before."

Straszewski believes the 2018 production is on a bigger scale than any street staging of the plays over the past 20 years. "We're trying to do more with the money that's gone into the performances. Like the puppetry in Judgement Day, which features a huge locust head representing famine. On the flip side, we also have some small, intimate pieces, like The Annunciation and Visitation, with the Angel Gabriel visiting Mary, which I've directed for the Guild of Media Arts, kicking off the New Testament stories."

Straszewski's own trajectory within the world of the York Mystery Plays is typical of the possibilities the plays present in their regular staging. "I've gone from acting to directing to artistic-directing the Mystery Plays, and every time I go back to them I find something new and exciting in them," he says.

Where and when you can see the York Mystery Plays 2018

Sunday, September 16: 11 plays at The Green, The Fair, The Streets and The Stage

From 11am to 2.45pm: College Green, open to all. Bring a picnic and a rug and watch for as long as you like.

From 11.45am to 3.45pm: St Sampson's Square; a chance to immerse yourself in the drama of a medieval fair.

From 12.35pm to 4.30pm: St Helen's Square; performed among the crowds. The streets are the best place to watch if you are just passing by.

From 1.30pm to 5.30pm: King's Manor, raked seating; ticket required, available online and on the door. Enclosed location under cover, away from the bustling streets, enabling you to experience the 11 plays from beginning to end in seated comfort. Prompt booking advised at