About the Plays

Past Productions

Past Productions

The CMP Blog

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Watch

the 2013 video trailer…

Hear

our Podcasts...
Abraham & Isaac
Lazarus
Mary Magdalene

More Podcasts below...

Meet

the 2013 production team...
Peter Leslie Wild

Artistic Director

Stephanie Dale

Writer

Matt Baker

Musical Director

Judith Croft

Designer

Chris Ellis

Lighting Designer

Katherine Robinson

Movement Director

Peter Nash

Sound Designer

Russell Coppock

AV Engineer

Andy Davies

Film & Animation

Pete Herbert

Production Manager

Julie Elston

Children's Officer

Jane Dawson

Project Manager

The 2013 Production in Full Swing...

All the amazing hard work finally comes together into a fantastic show - click to see the slideshow!

Almost ready...

Drawings by Dai Owen

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The younger cast prepare

Filmed on a cold Sunday at the end of March, this short film (edited at The Bishops’ High School), shares the experiences of three young cast members of the Chester Mystery Plays, as they reflect during the early stages of their rehearsals at St Mary’s Centre.
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Jesus meets Lucius!

A snowy March morning at St John the Evangelist Church in Alvanley for Palm Sunday, 2013. Well done to all who braved the weather (particularly Lucius the donkey)






Footage courtesy of Dave Carter
Rehearsals
Choir Practice
Choir Practice

Rehearsals - February 2013

As the plays get closer the production team is very busy on all fronts, and these shots from the recent rehearsals show some of the fun and hard work going on behind the scenes...
Choir Practice, the Queens School

A Glimpse of the 2013 Set, inside Chester Cathedral!

Judith Croft's stunning design for Chester Mystery Plays 2013 was unveiled at the public script reading in October. Get a sense of what it will look like for real from these pictures of the set model taken within the magnificent setting of the Cathedral's nave, and hear people's impressions of the set and the script, as recorded at the reading.
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Public Launch of Chester Mystery Plays 2013

Over 200 people attended the formal launch of the 2013 Cycle of the Chester Mystery Plays on 8 March 2012 in the Refectory at Chester Cathedral – it was standing room only!
The evening was hosted by Chairman of the Mystery Plays, Jo Sykes. She introduced a range of speakers including the Lord Mayor, Cllr Eleanor Johnson, and the Dean of Chester, The Very Revd Gordon McPhate. The Lord Mayor talked of the importance of the Plays to Chester and its community, while the Dean commented that "performance is the primary means of unraveling the mystery of the plays".
Chester Mystery Plays Launch
Sketches by Dai Owen

First Workshops for 2013!

In November, the Chester Mystery Plays 2013 Artistic Director, Peter Leslie Wild, and Writer, Stephanie Dale, held workshops for those interested in getting involved with the 2013 Cycle
Sketches by Dai Owen
“We had an amazing time at the workshops”, Peter Wild comments. “So much so we’ve decided to do it all again! We’ll be running one more session before Stephanie starts the writing process in earnest and would love to meet more people – those who have been involved in (or seen) the Mystery Plays before as well as those who have never experienced them.”
Sketches by Dai Owen
Sketches by Dai Owen
Sketches by Dai Owen
Sketches by Dai Owen

...with thanks to Neil Kendall for the great photography
and
Dai Owen for the wonderful illustrations

Vox Pops...
Les Ellison moved to the Chester area recently and came along to one of the November workshops.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m really excited by the 2013 project”, he commented. “Peter and Stephanie are absolutely the right director and writer for the job. They’re excellent with the people they work with – patient, respectful, encouraging, imaginative and inclusive. I think their approach to the plays is spot-on for 21st century Chester. They've really got something the audience will relate to, understand and find instantly accessible.”
Vanda Hargen (a regular performer with the Mystery Plays) also comments:

“The 3 hour workshop just flew by. It was fun as well as stimulating, and it was really excellent to be working with Peter and Stephanie – I’ll definitely be signing up for 2013!”
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Artistic Director: Peter Leslie Wild

Peter Leslie Wild
Peter Leslie Wild is an award-winning freelance theatre director and radio drama producer.

Since winning a BP Young Directors Award in 1989, Peter has worked extensively in theatre, radio and on site-specific projects. He set up and ran the Community Programme for the Orange Tree Theatre in London (1991-95), where he also directed acclaimed productions of The Return of the Prodigal, Someone Waiting, Romeo and Juliet, and a children’s version of The Mysteries. From 1995 to 2011, he was Senior Producer for BBC Radio Drama based in Birmingham, where he has worked with a vast range of writers including Steve Waters, David Edgar, Stephen Poliakoff, Arnold Wesker, Louise Page, Glyn Hughes, Lucy Gough, Stephanie Dale, Naylah Ahmed, Claire Bennett, Lou Ramsden, and Helen Cross.

His radio productions include the Classic Serial versions of
Watership Down, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, The Turn of the Screw, Wuthering Heights and the recent Woman’s Hour version of Wives and Daughters. He co-produced and directed the award-winning drama-documentary strands Making Space, Beyond the Canvas, Out of the Mould and Victorian Marriage Beds. Recent work includes five serials featuring Lindsey Davis’s Roman detective (Radio 4), Falco, two PD James serials, Jenny Stephens’ sci-fi serials Jefferson 37, Project Raphael and Project Archangel (Radio 4 Extra), Amadeus (starring F Murray Abraham) for Radio 2, The Contingency Plan and Great Escape (Radio 3), and two series of the acclaimed Writing the Century, based on real letters and diaries from the 20th Century. He is a twice winner of the prestigious Prix Marulic.

He has also produced and directed many episodes of Radio 4’s long-running serial
The Archers, as well as two series of Ambridge Extra for Radio 4 Extra in 2012. He wrote and directed a creative audio tour of the birthplace of the Titanic’s designer as part of the centenary commemorations in Belfast.

He recently directed a Community Audio Play,
Sea Me by Stephanie Dale with Doorway Theatre Company in Dorset, which will go online in the Spring of 2013.

In the theatre, Peter has made something of a specialism of working in unexpected venues.
The Worcester Pilgrim by Alex Jones was staged in Worcester Cathedral, and he is collaborating with Birmingham Rep to direct Dealing With Dreams by Stephanie Dale in Walsall New Art Gallery. He has recently collaborated with Singworks on Choral History and When the Stamp Made Its Mark, two large scale projects involving 150 primary schoolchildren, a choir and a band, staged in Kidderminster Town Hall. Most recently he directed The Wicked Lady for Birmingham University, and Philip Goulding’s A Fine Bright Day Today for The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle Under Lyme (2012).

Peter is looking forward to working with the people of Chester on the
Mystery Cycle, and is honoured to be involved in such a prestigious and exciting project.

Composer and Music Director: Matt Baker

Matt Baker
Matt was composer for the highly acclaimed Chester Mystery Plays 2008 which followed the success of his music for the 2003 cycle. He is founder and artistic director of Chester’s professional company Theatre in the Quarter. Compositions for this company include A Christmas Carol, The Chester Giant’s Opera, Unsinkable, Star of Wonder, Forgotten Fortress, James, Jacobean Christmas, Home For Christmas, Silent Night, Some Sunny Day, Sweet Sixteen, Twelve Days of Christmas and Garden Lane – The Musical. Theatre in the Quarter also includes Jigsaw Children’s Music Theatre which is now in its 21st successful year. Also in Chester, Matt is director of A Handbag of Harmonies who was the most successful women's choir on in BBC1’s Last Choir Standing, runners up in the 2010 Manchester Choral Competition and overall winners in the 2011 Manchester Pride Parade. The choir joined forces with Theatre in the Quarter in creating a choral tour de force of 700 voices, dancers, musicians (and giants) in performances of Matt's anthems Across The World and Be The Best That You Can Be for the arrival of the Olympic Flame in Chester in 2012.

Further afield, Matt has many composing and musical directing credits for theatres, theatre and dance companies and museums across the UK. His other work as musical director with young people has taken him as far as Melbourne, Yangon, Tanzania and Delhi. Matt has a reputation for inspiring large numbers of people to sing together. He has had 20 doctors singing a Beach Boys medley, 60 women singing Kylie songs on an open top bus, 200 children singing a new opera in a roman amphitheatre, 800 people singing Radio Gaga in a town square, 3,000 people singing Spandau Ballet in a stadium, and 20,000 people singing We Are The Champions to welcome the Olympic Flame to Chester.

Matt has several television and stage acting credits to his name.

Writer: Stephanie Dale

Stephenie Dale
Stephanie Dale writes for stage, radio and large-scale theatre. Her plays for the stage include: The Witches’ Promise (Birmingham REP @ Weoley Castle 2012); an adaptation of J.M. Falkner's Moonfleet, (BOVTS May 2013); A Time to Keep (Dorchester Community Plays Association, 2007, co-written with David Edgar and published by Nick Hern Books).

Current commissions include:
Mary MacArthur (Midlands Actors Theatre, 2013) Dealing With Dreams (Birmingham Repertory Theatre 2014); The Chester Mystery Plays (June 2013) Death on a Yellow Page (Birmingham REP, co-written with David Edgar).

For radio she has written:
Believe Me (2011); First Bite of the Air; What is Missing from your Life? (The Men); The Wife; What is Missing from your Life? (The Women) and Written in Mist (all for BBC Radio 4).

She is a graduate of the MA in Playwriting at Birmingham University (1997) where she now teaches on the MPhil in Playwriting. She is also a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University and Loughborough University. At Loughborough she teaches Applied Drama and has facilitated over 50 pieces of large-scale theatre within various community settings.

For more information:
www.stephaniedale.org

Designer: Judith Croft

Judith Croft
Judith trained first in Fashion and Textiles, then Theatre Design at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

She has worked extensively in the North West, becoming Head of Design for the Library Theatre Company in 1991, where she continues to work on a regular basis. She has designed many of their successful productions of plays by Neil Simon, including the
Brighton Beach trilogy, The Odd Couple (winner of Best Production, Manchester Evening News) and Laughter on the 23rd Floor, which she also designed for the West End run, starring Gene Wilder.

Judith has designed musicals, including
Assassins, Company and Putting it Together with director Roger Haines at the Library, and Leader of the Pack at the New Wolsey, Ipswich and Theatre Clwyd. Opera includes Falstaff at the RNCM (winner of Best Production of an Opera, M.E.N).
Recent work with the Library includes:
My Night with Reg, Translations, Waiting for Godot and Someone to Watch Over Me (all winners of Best Production, M.E.N) Dancing at Lughnasa, The Real Thing, Much Ado about Nothing, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Faith Healer, Frozen, The Glee Club, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Importance of Being Earnest and, at the Quays Theatre in the Lowry, Arcadia, A Doll’s House and Wind in the Willows.

Judith designed the set and costumes for the 2008 cycle of the
Chester Mystery Plays. Other site-specific work includes Alice in Wonderland at Heaton Park, Manchester, and Hard Times, presented in 2011 as a promenade production by director Chris Honer, in a disused textile mill in Manchester. She designs for the community based company Theatre in the Quarter in Chester. Productions include Home for Christmas, James, and in Spring 2012, Unsinkable.

Judith has designed the
Rock and Roll Panto at Clwyd Theatr Cymru for the last 12 years, working with director Pete Rowe. She is a regular exhibitor with the Society of British Theatre Designers and currently is Chair of the Equity National Designers Committee.

Movement Director: Katherine Robinson

Katherine Robinson
Born in Cheshire, Katherine trained at The Hammond Lower School and Senior Department, gaining her Diploma in dance teaching and performance, Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) teaching qualifications. During her final year as a student at The Hammond she was involved in establishing The Taudevin Dance Company and was invited to take company class and rehearsals with the Richard Alston Dance Company as an apprentice. Katherine then continued her training in contemporary dance and choreography at Middlesex University where she gained a First Class BA (Hons) degree in dance and worked with many choreographers such as Marc Bruce, Kate Flatt, Tim Langford, Cathy Marston and Emma Diamond. Katherine also won the Julia Cross award for choreographic innovation in 2003.

She has worked as a dance teacher at The Elliot Clarke School of Dance and Drama and as a freelance community dance practitioner in Cheshire and Merseyside. Following completion of a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in dance at Liverpool John Moores University, she taught at Ellesmere Port Specialist School for Performing Arts. Katherine has also worked as North West dance animateur for the Rambert Dance Company teaching company repertoire to primary and secondary school children as part of the Company’s education and outreach programme. Katherine was very pleased to join the Vocational faculty at The Hammond in 2006. She teaches choreographic studies to the professional dance students as well as Integrated Professional Studies. In 2007 she also completed her Certificate in Dance Education with the ISTD and in 2008 her Professional Formation with the Institute for Learning. Katherine has choreographed for Chester Literary Festival and for Shell UK as part of their ‘V-Power’ marketing strategy.

She has also previously choreographed for Chester Mystery Plays in Miniature as part of ‘Chestival’ and for ‘Theatre in the Quarter’s’ production Unsinkable commemorating the sinking of the Titanic. She is thrilled to be working as a movement consultant for Chester Mystery Plays 2013 alongside Director Peter Wild, a fantastic creative team and a wonderful cast.

Lighting Designer: Chris Ellis

Chris Ellis
Chris has worked extensively in the West End and for the Royal Shakespeare, National Theatre, Deutscher Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Leicester Curve and Haymarket Theatre companies. He has also created opera designs for the Teatro Massimo Palermo, Musikteater Amsterdam, Den Norske Opera, the Royal Opera House, the English National, Welsh National, Scottish and Opera North companies.

Some familiar faces Chris has lit include Robert Lindsay, Emma Thompson in
Me and My Girl; Mitch Sebastian in Pacific Overtures; Matt Lucas, Boy George and Gemma Craven in Taboo; Kim Cresswell in Annie Get Your Gun, Caroline O Connor in Mack & Mabel; Ute Lemper In Ute in Concert; Ralph Richardson and Peggy Ashcroft in Lloyd George Knew My Father; Jenny Seagrove in Brief Encounter; Tim West in MasterClass; Natasha Richardson, Trevor Eve in High Society; Peter O Toole in Pygmalion; Juliet Stephenson, Harriet Walter, Jonathan Price, Ian Charleson, David Suchet, in Taming of the Shrew; Michael Bryant in Mayor of Zalamea; Elaine Stritch in Strictly Speaking; Alison Steadman in Maydays, Denise Van Outen in Rent.

Recent designs include
Where Have I Been All My Life (New Vic Stoke), Benzine (Chemnitz Oper), 42nd Street (Chichester Festival Theatre), Rat Pack Live From The Sands (Adelphi London), The Opera Show (US & Europe tour), Dance of the Vampires (Staadsschouwburg Theatre, Antwerp), Sweet Charity and Pinocchio (Teatro Della Luna, Milan and Teatro Sistina, Rome), From the House of the Dead (Teatro Massimo Palermo), My Fair Lady (Denmark).

Chris also has an architectural design practice specialising in church installations, and in his spare time indulges his passions for sailing, photography and being a church organist.

Sound Designer: Peter Nash

Monty Funk Productions
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Graduating from Plymouth University in 1987 with a BSc in Geography, Peter has always had the desire for exploration, which he married to the world of sound design through the music industry and the BBC. He became an assistant recording engineer in Brighton in the late 1980s, before moving abroad working in Nicosia and Paris, returning to England to become chief engineer at Revolver Music and subsequently freelance producer for Sony, EMI and Polygram.

He then based himself at BBC Birmingham working as a Studio Manager at Pebble Mill, where he built up his extensive knowledge of creative sound editing, working on many award winning BBC programmes. Peter’s knowledge and expertise earned him the role of Chief Specialist for
Prism Sound, taking him around the world to work with many international broadcasters.

Since 1997, Peter has been the Managing Director of
Monty Funk Productions Ltd which, as well as providing BBC radio production specialises in sound design & audio production, audio consultancy, and high-end podcasting. He has been the sound designer on many stage-based productions as well as radio, and specialises in the obscure and challenging spaces for which there is no rulebook!”

For more information, visit
www.montyfunk.com.

Film Producer and Animation Designer: Andy Davies

Film Production Assistant: Dave Carter
Animation Designer: Gareth Rainsford
Andy Davies
Andy Davies is a Lecturer in Computer Science and Creative Director for The Harlequin Project, based within Computer Science, Mathematics and Business Computing at the University of Chester. Andy has worked with The Harlequin Project on numerous digital projects in the Chester area, including web, video production, audio and motion graphics. Some of his most distinguished work to date has been developed with Matt Baker, notably Chester Mystery Plays in Miniature productions of “Creation” (2010) and “Noah’s Flood” (2011) and, in 2012, community video material for Theatre in the Quarter’s Olympic Anthem, “Across the World”.

Andy and his team at The Harlequin Project are designing and producing the accompanying video and motion graphics material as part of the trailer and live performance, to be featured at Chester Mystery Plays 2013.

Andy is thrilled to be involved in the project and to be working alongside such a talented production team.

Audio Video Engineer: Russell Coppock

Shared Media
PH Production Services
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Russell has many years experience as a freelance audio and video engineer based in Stoke on Trent providing live video solutions for conferences, theatre and live events. Russell regularly works with a wide range of corporate, Christian and charity organisations, providing live camera solutions, live audio engineering and screen content management.

In 2012 Russell launched
Sharedmedia.tv together with production manager Peter Herbert to provide video and social media marketing solutions to the business and arts communities specialising in short promotional videos.

Russell has worked on a number of site specific productions with
PH Production Services Ltd and is looking forward to the challenges of working on the Chester Mystery Plays.

Production Manager: Peter Herbert

PH Production Services
Following a 15 year career in various technical roles within the theatre and theme park industries, Peter formed PH Production Services Ltd to concentrate on staging large scale productions in unusual places. Peter's career started after a brief spell in the West End whilst studying at Westminster College. He then went on to work with the Library Theatre Company in Manchester for two years followed by six years at the Derngate Theatre, Northampton before moving into the touring arena. Peter has toured as Stage Manager and Production Manager for many companies mainly in Contemporary Dance.

For the past 10 years he has specialised in finding solutions to the problems of staging large scale productions in stately homes, warehouses, shopping centres, castles, Cathedrals and even along a mile stretch of beach in Cornwall.

In his spare time as a Trustee of a Christian Charity,
NXT Ministries, he helps to stage Music Events and conferences to raise funds for many charities in his adopted City of Stoke on Trent and beyond. He is also a member of the Fund Raising Committee of Arch North Staffs which supports victims of Domestic Abuse and those at risk of Homelessness.

Having last worked with Peter Leslie Wild and Peter Nash on the successful production of the Worcester Pilgrim staged within the magnificent Worcester Cathedral, Peter is excited to be working with them again to realise this wonderful project with the team here at the
Chester Mystery Plays.

Please visit www.phproductionservices.com for more information.

Project Manager: Jane Dawson

Jane Dawson
Jane has worked in the cultural sector since 1980. She has managed a range of performing arts organisations including Chester Gateway Theatre from 1990-1995, and has worked in national and regional agencies (including Arts Council England), local government (Cheshire County Council from 1998-2005) and national government (DCMS). She is a Non Executive Adviser to NHS Western Cheshire, an artistic assessor for Arts Council England and has been a magistrate in Chester since 2006.

Since 2009, Jane has been working as a freelance consultant in cultural and arts management, undertaking a number of contracts for local authorities and arts organisations as one half of “JAG” consultancy group with colleague, Gail Thorne. She started working with local professional music theatre company, Theatre in the Quarter, in 2010, providing business management services. Jane’s involvement with
Chester Mystery Plays goes back to 1992 when the Gateway Theatre performed Cain and Abel in Bob Cheeseman’s production. She joined the Board in 2005, but stepped down in early 2011 to act as project manager on Sharing the Mystery, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and to take on the role of Project Manager for 2013.

Children's Officer: Julie Elston

Julie Elston
Julie has been Company Manager with Chester’s professional music theatre company, Theatre in the Quarter, on all of its productions since it was formed in 2006. She has also worked with Jigsaw Children’s Music Theatre Company for over 10 years, providing production support as well as pastoral care for the students. As well being an experienced Company Manager, Julie has co-directed productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare for Schools) and 1001 Arabian Nights (in partnership with Bishops’ Blue Coat School) as part of her role as a STA at Dee Banks Special School for children with special educational needs, a role she has held for over 20 years.

She has also worked with Cheshire Youth Theatre, Gateway Youth Theatre, and for Merseyside TV on Hollyoaks and Grange Hill, and had her first experience of Chester Mystery Plays in 2008.