The Chester blog

Mystery Plays to be shown online

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The renowned Chester Mystery Plays will be streamed on YouTube on Good Friday for the first time.  The live recordings of Act I and Act II of the 2018 cycle, directed by Peter Leslie Wild at Chester Cathedral, will be broadcast at 10.30am on Friday, April 10 and remain available online to view for eight weeks.

Many of the community cast of 150 were scheduled to take part in the Chester City Passion on Good Friday, an event sadly cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Peter Leslie Wild said: “This broadcast is a wonderful opportunity for cast members, friends and the people of Chester especially to be reminded of happier times.

“Community theatre plays such an important role in people’s lives and in these days of social distancing and isolation many will be missing the friendship and companionship of projects like the Chester Mystery Plays and the Chester City Passion.”

The Chester Mystery Plays, which tell Bible stories including the Creation, Noah’s Ark, The Nativity and The Crucifixion were first written in the 14th century and performed by the guildsmen of the city on wagons around the streets.

Since the modern revival of the plays in 1951, they have been performed in the city once every five years and the 2018 cycle was written by Deborah McAndrew and designed by Dawn Allsopp, with original music composed and directed by Matt Baker.

the-crucifixion-scene
Pic: Neil Kendall 

Deborah said: “These plays are an important part of the history of theatre; and scholars and theatre lovers from around the world travel to Chester when they are performed. As much of the globe is in some form of lockdown, this YouTube performance offers the opportunity to share with the rest of the world this unique part of Chester’s dramatic history.”

The recording was made by PH Production Services Ltd and will be found on the Chester Mystery Plays channel on YouTube.

Ian Sanderson, chairman of the Chester Mystery Plays Company Ltd said: “I would like to thank the professional production team for agreeing to waive their rights to this production to allow us to stream it live on YouTube.

“The Chester Mystery Plays are a huge commitment for our community cast and we are delighted to be able to share their performance with a wider audience during this difficult time.”

For our review visit https://thechesterblog.com/2018/06/30/mystery-plays-2018-review/
For an interview with writer Deb McAndrew see https://thechesterblog.com/2018/06/27/mystery-plays-writer-deborah-mcandrew/

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