York Mystery Plays

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2012 Exhibition,York Library, about the Plays

During summer 2012 City Archivist Victoria Hoyle organised an exhibition about York's history.  It celebrated York 800: eight hundred years since the citizens of York bought from King John in 1212 the right to administer the city's taxes and trading. 

With volunteers from the community and the University of York, display panels were installed outside and inside the central library in York.  The library is in Museum Street, just at the edge of Museum Gardens, where the 2012 performances of the Mystery Plays took place.  Building a stage there, in the historic site of St Mary's Abbey was quite a feat, as this article describes.

Here are photographs of the panels about the Mystery Plays taken by one of the volunteers, Lynda Timms.
First two panels in library



Panel on the left: Mystery, what's the Mystery?  It explains the link between the Plays and York's craft Guilds.

Panel on the right: Several pigeons were struck by lightening! This is a quotation from actor John Hall about the 1988 production.  See notes of the interview in the NCEM archive, here.








Panels in library about the Plays




Panel on the left: Herod was a leather-clad psychopath.  This is about costumes.

Panel on the right: Comedy to tragedy, blasphemy to beautiful poetry.  This is about the texts and scripts.









Third stand includes credits


Panel on the left: Almost rich and famous.  This is about the amateur casts over the years. 

Panel on the right: Credits and Acknowledgements.  These include the archive of the National Centre for Early Music, which supplied many of the imag





The designer of these and the other panels in the exhibition was local professional Dick Raines. 
Go back to Mystery Play Archive.  See here for the 2012 cast list, and here for photographs of the 2012 production.