THE Mystery Plays have returned to York - performed once again on the backs of decorated pageant wagons, in line with a tradition going back to medieval times.

Hundreds of people are involved in the community production, which is organised in a four-yearly cycle by the Guilds of York, and was staged yesterday.

The plays will be performed again in Shambles Market on Wednesday and Thursday evening, and again across the city centre next Sunday.

Originally a set of 48 plays, the plays illustrate the Christian history of the world from the Creation to the Last Judgement.After several centuries lying dormant, they were resurrected in the 20th century with performances in the Museum Gardens, performed by massive casts drawn from York’s community, and the Guilds revived the wagon plays in 1998.

They were last performed in 2018, with last year's event having to be postponed because of the pandemic.

The wagons were pushed through the streets on Sunday, accompanied by musicians, to several locations, including St Sampson’s Square and St Helen’s Square, before ending up at Kings Manor.

Roger Lee, chairman of York Festival Trust, has said previously that with arts and culture being amongst the last areas of our lives allowed to return post-Covid, he was delighted the Plays were returning to the city and supporting the rebirth of live performing arts.

He said past productions had met with great popular, academic and critical acclaim, and the guilds hoped to build on this success with the 2022 production.

Artistic director Tom Straszewski said that after two years of uncertainty for the arts, this was an opportunity for York’s communities to come together to celebrate the city’s heritage through drama, spectacle and pageantry.

“This will be a huge boost for people’s well-being and a festival to attract York residents and visitors alike to the city," he added.

Meanwhile, York Festival Trust has announced that Yorkshire born actor Mick Liversidge is to take on the role of Satan in the performances in The Shambles Market later this week.

Mick, who has appeared in Coronation Street, Channels 4’s It’s a Sin, The Queen and I (Netflix) and in the film version of Downton Abbey, will act as narrator, guiding the hundred-strong audience and linking each of the five plays being performed.

He said: "As a huge fan of outdoor theatre, I was absolutely delighted to be offered this role. I’ve appeared in many local plays both in the City and around Yorkshire, so it’s a pleasure to be involved in such a great community event. I’m looking forward to guiding the audience and seeing their reactions as the plays unfold.’

Tickets for The Shambles Market performances, limited to 100, and for the King’s Manor next Sunday, are available through the Festival Trust website: