York Mystery Plays

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Exhibition in York Explore about the Plays

During summer 2012 the City Archivist ran 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, called York Explore.  The library in Museum Street is 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.
The Mystery Plays element in that exhibition used images from the City Archives, the NCEM and even the National Railway Museum's poster collection. At the same time the Yorkshire Museum exhibited the medieval manuscript of the Scriveners' Play (from the City Archives) alongside the medieval Pageant Accounts of the Mercers' Wagon Play, from York Merchant Adventurers' archives.
Here are photographs of the panels about the Mystery Plays taken by volunteer 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 images.

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.