Epic York mystery plays return to York Minster for first time in 16 years

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Epic York mystery plays return to York Minster for first time in 16 years Props Supervisor Beckie May creating props

The magnificent Nave of York’s famous Minster will be transformed into a 1,000-seater theatre this Summer as the epic Mystery Plays return to the stage.

The plays dramatise the greatest story ever told – from the creation of heaven and earth to the last judgement. It’s the first time in 16 years and only the second time in their near 700 year history that the Mystery Plays have been performed at York Minster, following sell-out performances in 2000.

Philip McGinley, Jesus, York Minster Mystery Plays

Philip McGinley, Jesus, York Minster Mystery Plays

The plays, which run from 26 May to 30 June and promise to be the biggest event in York this Summer, feature lead actor, Phillip McGinley playing the role of Jesus. Philip, who was born in Lancashire, is best known for his roles as archer Anguy in HBO series Game of Thrones and as Tom Kerrigan in Coronation Street. Alongside Phillip will be hundreds of members of the Yorkshire community involved as cast members and behind the scenes on everything from prop and costume making to stage building and make-up.

The 2016 production is being developed by an award winning artistic team, including director Phillip Breen, of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and writer Mike Poulton, who recently wrote the scripts for the RSC’s productions of Hilary Mantel’s global best-selling novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.

The York Mystery Plays date from medieval England and much of York Minster would have been in existence at the times the plays were first performed.

Vivienne Faull, Dean of York Minster, commented:

“After a gap of 16 years it is a great pleasure and enormously exciting to stage the Mystery Plays at York Minster again. The stories of the plays are stamped across the very fabric of the cathedral, from the carvings in the stonework to the stained-glass in the Great East Window, which depicts the cycles dramatised in the Plays. We hope experiencing the performances in such an extraordinary setting will be a truly moving experience.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.yorkminster.org/mysteryplays2016 by calling 01904 623568 or in person from the York Theatre Royal’s Box Office at the De Grey Rooms in St Leonards Place, York, and at York Minster’s visitor admission desks.

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