The Lord Mayor of Chester Razia Daniels has officially granted permission to the company of the Chester Mystery Plays to perform at Chester Cathedral this summer.
The traditional Reading of the Banns ceremony took place at Chester Town Hall Square on Saturday May 12 in front of crowds of shoppers, visitors and tourists to the city.
Shepherds and singers from the 200-strong company processed from the historic Eastgate to the Town Hall where Town Crier David Mitchell beseeched the Lord Mayor to consent to the performance of the plays, which are held every five years.
Reading from a specially written script by award-winning playwright Deborah McAndrew, who has penned the full length version of the 2018 Chester Mystery Plays, Mr Mitchell began his proclamation with the words: “Worshipful Mayor of this fair city, We come today respectfully, Both men and women solemnly, With Chester’s children all,, To bow to your authority, And seek permission publicly, To play our plays full heartily, Within the city wall.
The Lord Mayor responded: “People of Chester, the players of the city wish to perform The Mystery Plays in the summer of this year. These plays are part of the rich heritage of this historic city. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I grant permission for the plays to be performed in the nave of the Cathedral from Wednesday 27th June to Saturday 14th July 2018. Best of luck to all!”
Chairman of the Chester Mystery Plays company Jo Sykes said: “In the 15th century, when the Reading of the Banns ceremony was first recorded, it would have been the ‘social media’ of its time, letting the people of the city know that the Chester Mystery Plays were being performed.
“I would like to thank the Lord Mayor, the Town Crier and the dedicated performers from our company for keeping this tradition and the Chester Mystery Plays alive in the 21st century.”
Tickets are available from http://www.chestermysteryplays.com, by telephone 01244 500959 or in person at the Chester Cathedral box office.
Pics by Neil Kendall