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York Mystery Plays return, but we need your help

City of York Council

12:01am 19th February 2012

York Mystery Plays 2012 are returning to the York Museum Gardens for the first time since 1988. The new adaptation by Mike Kenny will be presented on a grand scale, performed against the back-drop of the spectacular St Mary's Abbey.

The plays are expected to attract an audience of over 30,000 from 2 - 27 Aug. Dating back to the medieval period and steeped in history this gritty revival will be brought into the 20th century as the Mystery Play's design team are setting the plays when they were first revived for the Festival of Britain in the 1950s.

The creative team need the community's help in clothing the extensive cast of over 600 actors and are looking for donations of any original clothing ranging from First World War uniforms to 1950s dresses and anything in-between.

Paul Burbridge, Artistic Director of Riding Lights Theatre and co-director of the York Mystery Plays said:

"This year the creative team wanted to give the plays a contemporary feel, without losing all the associated history. The idea centres around the people of York telling the story now but without the plays being absolutely up to date.

"The 1950s era in which the plays are being styled, will conjure that sense of austerity and hope that was present in post-war Britain".

The citizens of York play a fundamental part in the production of the York Mystery Plays and the project has already enlisted over 1000 volunteers including the two casts of 300. Now they are appealing to York's community, to raid attics and wardrobes for anything that is from, or looks as though it's from, the 1920s,30s,40s or 50s.

Anna Gooch, Costume designer said:

"Even if items are in need of repair or are stained, we're interested!  The eras of rationing and making-do and mending are particularly interesting to us. Men's suits, women's tea dresses, hats, gloves, handbags. 

"Army, Navy, RAF uniforms… think Dad's Army, Vera Drake or Call the Midwife. If you're not sure if it's right - bring it along anyway!

"Donations will make an enormous difference to the project and we can't wait to see what the wardrobes of York contain "
Clothes can be dropped at York Theatre Royal as well as other theatres across the region including; Harrogate Theatre, Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond and Friargate Theatre in York, the base for Riding Lights Theatre Company. Please drop off clothes on Sat 3 March between 10am and 4pm. There will be a York Mystery Plays member of staff at each venue ready to collect your items.

The plays will take place in York Museum Gardens, York from 2 - 27 Aug 2012 tickets are available at the York Theatre Royal box office in person, by calling 01904 623568 and online click here

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