2010 saw the fourth quadrennial production of York Mystery Plays ‘brought forth’ by the York Guilds and Companies. Nobody owns The York Mystery Plays, but the York Guilds and Companies have the greatest claim to be their guardians.
Some may find it hard to imagine that an association of groups whose makeup and ethos are informed by the activities of their medieval forefathers could so readily adopt and adapt to the production of a large scale community drama event. But it is a testament to the people involved that this has been so, and indeed precisely what those medieval forefathers did every summer, centuries ago.
Had it not been for The Friends of York Mystery Plays whose production in 1994 returned waggon playing to the community of York, and Jane Oakshott MBE who came to the Guilds in the mid-1990s to bring to their attention a heritage to be reclaimed, none of this would have happened. Nor would we see the inventiveness and creativity evident in the various performance styles, costumes and set-building if it were not for the individual performance groups who are so willing to associate themselves with our productions.
The performance model created over the years provides a flexible and sustainable means for putting regular productions of these internationally renowned Plays on the city streets.
In 2010 the Guilds and Companies brought together a festival of associated events – the highlight was the return to York of the only surviving manuscript of the plays as the centrepiece of a special exhibition at York Art Gallery.
Our next performance of the York Mystery Plays will take place in 2014. We very much hope you enjoy the performances, whether you are wandering the city streets in the wake of the waggons, or enjoying the comfort of a seat in the stands, and above all thank you for your continued support.
- Roger Lee, Chairman