The Wakefield Mystery Plays opened in Wakefield Cathedral last night to rapturous applause.
The series of plays originally written by the City’s Guilds in the Middle Ages to tell the story of the Bible, have been rewritten for a modern audience by writer Nick Lane who has created two new plays for this production – The Fall & Rise and The Price of Love.
These bring a contemporary twist to the Mysteries by incorporating rolling news, rap battles, poetry slams and TV debate shows into this sideways take on the Bible all set within the context of Wakefield’s own history.
The Theatre Royal Wakefield production is directed by Andrew Loretto and the plays are performed by a local cast of 60, including professional actors and young people. Fifty two members of the cast are aged under 25 years old.
This production of the Wakefield Mystery Plays is being split into two halves, with The Fall & Rise making up Part I and The Price of Love being Part II.
They are performed in a promenade style, which means that the audience will follow the action around the venue, both inside and outside, though seating will be provided for those with limited mobility.
Producer, Sarah Shooter from Theatre Royal Wakefield said: “It’s great to work with the Cathedral and it is a perfect choice for the location. It’s the only one of the four surviving circuits that has not been performed in a while.
“Other places perform the Mysteries traditionally, but it was felt that this new script and way of looking at the Mysteries would help engage a new audience and allow us to explore all the issues in a new and exciting way.
“And performing it in a promenade style allows the plays to really show off the cathedral and allows the actors to explore the whole space and bring the audience right in to the show,” she said.
The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener said he was thrilled to have the Mysteries inside the Cathedral.
“Just watching the rehearsals and seeing the actors, the staging and the scenery slowly take life inside this wonderful cathedral has been an exciting experience – this is about the Cathedral being at the heart of community life, and we hope the people of this city, this region and beyond come and support this fantastic production,” he said.
Performances in Wakefield Cathedral everyday from Thursday 11 August to Saturday 20 August. Please see the Diocese’s Events page for more details about dates and times of each performance.
Please be advised the show is a 12A rating