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York Mystery Plays return to tell the greatest story

A cast of more than 500 will perform the plays against the backdrop of St Mary's Abbey

More than 36,000 people are set to experience the north's most spectacular piece of theatre this summer - the return of York Mystery Plays to York Museum Gardens.

Performed against the magnificent backdrop of St Mary's Abbey, a cast of more than 500 will be led by Ferdinand Kingsley (right), playing God and Jesus, and former Coronation Street villain Graeme Hawley (who played John Stape) as the Devil.

The Olivier Award winning team behind The Railway Children, will create the huge production which is set to be one of the cultural highlights of the summer.

From Creation to the Last Judgement, these plays form part of the greatest story ever told - the story of God, man and woman and the cosmic battle between good and evil.

The plays are a significant part of York’s rich heritage and were first performed in the city in the 14th Century.

Produced by York Theatre Royal, Riding Lights Theatre Company and York Museums Trust and supported by City of York Council, it is the first time the plays have been performed in the Museum Gardens since 1988.

Dame Judi Dench, who performed in the plays three times, is a patron of the plays for 2012.  She said: “I know the excitement that these events bring to the people of York and the important place they hold within the city’s history. When I heard the Mystery Plays were returning to York Museum Gardens and the scale and ambition which York Theatre Royal, Riding Lights Theatre Company and York Museums Trust have for this production, I was honoured to be asked to become patron.”

HRH the Duke of York, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and BBC Look North’s Harry Gration are also confirmed patrons of the plays.

The plays will take place in the Museum Gardens from August 2 to August 27 2012, with covered seating for 1,400 people being especially built around the ancient walls of St Mary’s Abbey.

More than 1,700 local people will join forces with a large professional team to help create this production. It is the first large scale performance since the plays were held in York Minster in 2000.

(Photo: Kippa Matthews)


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