Mystery Plays 2023 launched: audition dates announced

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Lord Mayor of Chester John Leather at the 2023 Chester Mystery Plays launch

The 2023 Chester Mystery Plays cycle was officially launched at Chester Cathedral last night (Thursday, October 6th) by Lord Mayor of Chester John Leather. The theme for his term of office is heritage and arts tourism and Chester Mystery Plays is one of his three nominated charities.

Dean of Chester Cathedral Tim Stratford welcomed hundreds of guests to the launch by describing the Chester Mystery Plays as being ‘heritage of international significance’.

Chairman of Chester Mystery Plays Ian Sanderson said: “The Mystery Plays have been performed in this city since the 14th century and they have been a collaboration since then between the Church, the State, the Mystery Plays and the Guilds. I am delighted that the Church and the State are represented here by the Dean and the Lord Mayor.”

Director John Young, composer Matt Baker, movement director Emma Briggs and designer Jess Curtis outlined their vision for the production, which will take place in the nave of Chester Cathedral from June 28 – July 15 2023.

John said he was hoping for a company of at least 200 people to present the ‘amazing stories’, which he has adapted from the 1987 Chester Mystery Plays script by Edward Burns.

He said: “I hope that as a script it will grow and develop and change because I want to draw on all the incredible people who want to be involved in it.

 The creative team behind the 2023 Chester Mystery Plays L-R: Movement director Emma Briggs, designer Jess Curtis, director John Young, lighting designer Aaron J Dootson and composer and musical director Matt Baker

The 2023 production will be presented in traverse on three stages in the magnificent cathedral nave with a central ‘street’ and the audience seated in four rows either side.

John added: “This harks back to the origins of the plays which began on carriages throughout the streets of Chester. It also makes the space feel very immersive and gives the audience an experience.”

Jess elaborated on the ‘look, the touch, the feel and the smell’ that she would create, inspired by the ‘incredible piece of art’ that is Chester Cathedral. She is also keen to meet anyone who is interested in crafts and creativity who might be interested in making props, costumes and pieces of the set.

The 2023 cycle is the fifth for composer Matt Baker who is looking for singers and musicians of all abilities to bring his music to life and movement director Emma Briggs, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a contemporary dance teacher and choreographer, is looking for people who ‘just love dance.’

The following auditions will take place at Chester Bluecoat Primary School:

Sunday 9 October Children 1-3pm Sunday 16 October Acting 12.30-9pm Sunday 23 October Movement 12.30-1.30pm 1.45-2.45pm

Music auditions will take place on Sunday 23 October at St Thomas of Canterbury Church at the following times: Soloists 12-2.45pm, Chorus 3-4pm, Musicians 4.15-7pm. Please bring your instrument if possible or a recording of you playing.

To register an interest in auditioning or being part of the craft groups visit

Tickets for the 2023 cycle are on sale now from or from the Chester Cathedral Box Office on 01244 500959. Early bird prices are available, offering a 20% discount on ticket prices.

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