York Mystery Plays

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Press Cuttings : Press Cuttings

Item type: Press Cuttings
Archive reference: YMP/F
Date/year: mixed
Press cuttings form a significant component of the Mystery Plays archive at the NCEM.  We continue to collect them and have cuttings from every production year plus some other non-production years, the earliest being 1948.  They are stored under YMP/F in chronological order.  We welcome cuttings from any year. 2020, due to the pandemic, was a very quiet year for theatre.  However, York Theatre Royal in June 2020 organised four radio production of old testament Mystery Plays, directed by Juliet Forster of York Theatre Royal.  Adam and Eve; The flood parts 1 and 2 and Moses and Pharoah.  The plays were produced at each actor's home then spliced together with sounds by BBC Radio York sound engineer Martin Grant.  They were broadcast on Sunday mornings, June 7, 14, 21 and 28 2020. May 28 gives full description, June 4 and 18 give listing and short description.
The first cutting collected in 2021 was from the York Press of 13 January.  Mike Laycock reported the hopes of a partnership of York Festival Trust (the Guilds' group), York Minster and the York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust to perform a play The York Passion in April 2021, in front of the Minster School.  It would be a newly compiled play from the various original Pageants covering the Easter story.  On 26 January this was changed to 29 and 31 May 2021.
On 22 and 25 February the York Press reported on the death of Dr Richard Shephard, music teacher, composer and conductor of the music for the Plays in York Minster in 2000 and 2016.  He had been a lay Canon and Chamberlain, and fundraiser for the Minster.  A memorial service for him was later reported in the Press, held in the Minster on 30 September 2021.
On 26 February the York Press reported the death of Jim Hammond, a stalwart of York's am dram scene. He had played Noah in the River Play in the production of the 1973 Plays.
On 6 July the York Press reported that A Resurrection for York had been produced in Dean's Park on 3 and 4 July.  A photo by Mike Laycock showed the Butcher's wagon.  For the castlist see this page.
On 16 September 2021 the York Press letters page had a tribute to Alan Reed, teacher at Archbishop Holgate school, with a photo of the 2002 Last Judgement wagon - he was an Apostle.  In 2006 Mr Reed was a Bad Soul in the Last Judgement wagon.
In the York Press 13 January 2022, Headline "Son pays tribute to Sir Nigel, 91". It reports the death of Nigel Forbes Adam, owner of Escrick Park Estate to the east of York.  The article   includes a picture from 1969 of him as Gabriel and his then wife Teresa (named as Toppett in the article) as Mary. 
York Press 23 March 2022: Stephen Lewis writes about Community theatre in York.  Two colour  images of Ferdinand Kingsley (God and Jesus) in the Mystery Plays 2012, three of community Play "Blood and Chociolate" in 2013; one of Fog and Falling Snow, 2015 in the National Railway Museum, York.  Three colour photos of Everything is possible about York suffragettes, in 2017.  The article confirms plans for another community play to be produced, The Coppergate Woman at the end of July in York Theatre Royal, inspired by the excavation in Coppergate by York Archaeological Trust and the remains of a Viking woman.
8 April 2022, York Press page 5: Mystery Play actors required.  York Mystery Plays Trust play Director Paul Toy will hold auditions at Bedern Hall for actors and musicians, and hopes to hear from people interesting in preparing the stage /wagons and finding propos.  Plays will be performed on Sundays June 19 and 26, beginning at 11am on College Green; and on 22 and 23 June at 8pm in Shambles Market.
York Press 11 May 2022.  Headline "Ma'am, look behind you" with photo of fearsome dinosaur.  Maxine Gordon looks back at Queen Elizabeth's many visits to York.  First in 1949 as Princess (picture of her Stonegate walk).  "Nine years later in 1957 she returned, again with Prince Philip.  They were due to watch the Mystery Plays in Museum Gardens but heavy rain scuppered those plans.  Instead they met the cast at Tempest Anderson Hall. " Photo opposite of cast line-up in Hall, HM Queen shaking hand of actress.  It was  Eve, Sheila Barker (caption doesn't say).
The York Press of 16, 21, 24, 27 June also covered the highly succesful 2022 wagon plays.
In June 2023 the York Press gave a biography of former reporter John Scott, with a photograph of him in 2013 and a note of his funeral date. 
 York Press 22 July 2023: Full page review by Charles Hutchinson of Sovereign at the King's Manor, with script by Mke Kenny.  Colour photos of Queen Catherine (Scarlett Rowley), Henry VIII (Mark Gowland), Matthew Shardlake (Fergus Rattigan) with Tamasin Reedbourne (Livy Potter)  and Thomas Maleverer (Maurice Crichton) with the glazier's apprentice.  The play opens and closes with Mysyery Play references: Ego sum Alpha et Omega, as Henry VIII tries to usurp that role,  and God on a Mystery Play wagon resists him.

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