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The English Mystery Plays archiveMystery Plays were originally performed in church in the Middle Ages as embellishments of formal rituals and gradually moved from the church to the churchyard and marketplace and temporary stages. In 1210, when a papal edict forbade the clergy from appearing on stage in public, the Mystery Plays began to be performed by local trade guilds who elaborated the scripts and developed the dramatic elements. These guilds were called 'Mysterium', hence the term 'Mystery' plays. The plays grew over the following centuries into huge pageants. Some Cycles had as many as 40 plays and would take many days to perform. Some academics cite plays starting at 4.30am and, following several performances around the town on a cart, the exhausted players would finish by torchlight at midnight. Many cycles became epic and the countless generations of anonymous writers introduced comical and discourteous themes into their work. For example, a Mrs Noah who won't get into the ark until she is beaten, a drunken Noah who curses at his neighbours, and a sheep stealer who brings high farce to the shepherds scene in the nativity.
Performers Toby Foster, Grace Kelly, Sam Whewall, Reece Andrews, Alexander Lee, Paul Haley, Nick Gillot, richard Caile, Karen Freer, Ian Hey, Conor Ramsgill, Julian Strowsky, Patrick Stewart (as the voice of God).
Author John Kelly. Company Secret Theatre Company. Director John Kelly.

The English Mystery Plays

The English Mystery Plays (Play) production archive for QTIX code T02017110680. Details of all The English Mystery Plays archived productions can be found under the QTIX code: S1687345763

Archive Listings

28 Jun 09
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11 Jul 09
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South Yorkshire

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