A theatre company of over 300 players, stitchers and makers met recently for the first time to start preparations for putting on the 2023 edition of the Chester Mystery Plays.
The performances are presented just once every five years by the community crew and cast, with the 2023 company hailing from a diverse range of areas including Cheshire, North Wales, Stoke-on-Trent, the Wirral, Milton Keynes, and Newcastle-under-Lyme. The company includes actors, musicians, singers, dancers, prop makers, and set and costume designers, along with a dedicated team to run front of house.
The origin of the mystery plays dates to medieval Chester when Bible stories were told as if they happened in the Cheshire city. At the recent gathering, accomplished director John Young, designer Jess Curtis and the company’s musical director Matt Baker welcomed all involved and shared their unique vision for Britain’s biggest community theatre project enjoying regular production.
The Chester Mystery Plays will be performed live this summer at the city’s world-famous grade-listed venue, Chester Cathedral. Regarding the meet-up, Young, who recently completed a stretch at the National Theatre in London as Staff Director, commented:
“I woke up today just like it was Christmas morning. This production has been years in the planning, and it was so wonderful to finally meet the people who are going to tell this story – the greatest ever told.”
The last cycle of the Chester Mystery Plays was performed 2018, before the coronavirus pandemic. The 2023 cycle will run from June 28 to July 15 and tickets are already available to buy online or from the cathedral’s box office.