Thursday, 19 July 2012

It's a Mystery

The ruins of St Mary's Abbey in the Museum Gardens seen here and here previously, have all but disappeared behind scaffolding, seating, railings and all the paraphernalia of a temporary outdoor event venue. This stage is set for the 2012 York Mystery Plays, a four yearly cycle of 48 plays covering Creation through to the Last Judgement.
York Corpus Christi Plays to give them their official title, were originally performed on carts and wagons around the city by the local Craft Guilds (Coopers, Bakers, Masons etc). Mystery can be taken to mean a religious truth or in Middle English it means a trade or craft. First recorded as performed in York in the middle of the 14th century, each Guild would be responsible for a particular play, stopping at 12 'play stations' around the city to do their turn. Some were obvious choices, the Shipwrights would stage 'Building of the Ark' for example. I would love to have seen the Hosiers perform Departure of the Israelites from Egypt; Ten Plagues; Crossing of the Red Sea!

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