Chester Mystery Plays is a highly collaborative enterprise involving the talents and goodwill of all kinds of people at all kinds of levels. Chester Mystery Plays Limited, a company with charitable status, was formed in the 1980s with the sole aim of ensuring the active survival of the Chester Mystery Plays.
Patron: The Marquess of Cholmondeley, KCVO
The company was formally established as a company limited by guarantee and registered charity in 1986 (company number 02050251, registered charity number 518768). The Board of Directors oversees all the Company’s activities, and the Directors are also the Trustees. As there are no permanent, paid staff, the Board members are also responsible for managing the company and are consequently very “hands on”, each individual taking a lead on different strands of work, e.g. front of house, marketing.
The Chester Mystery Plays Board
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There are also a number of Company Members. These are people who have been involved with the Company as volunteers and provide extra support for the Board in managing the Company’s activities.
Profile coming soon
Judy has been involved in the Chester Mystery Plays since the late 1970s, as a volunteer who was then was asked to become part of the street theatre which preceded the performances. A teacher at Tattenhall Primary School, she taught children with special needs and so it was a unique opportunity to involve them. Over the years they loved being part of something so different and it increased Judy’s enthusiasm for the Plays. In 1994 she became a Board member, being involved in running the bar, selling merchandise and helping with the archives, whilst also discovering a skill for selling raffle tickets! She found it to be a wonderful experience working alongside such dedicated people with so many different skills to offer. Judy left the Board in 2017 with many happy memories.
Stephen has assisted with front of house duties at the last four productions of the Chester Mystery Plays. He is the solicitor and company secretary at the Countess of Chester Hospital and Clerk to the Governors at The King's School, Chester.
Ruth was on the Executive of Chester City Council when she was allocated a seat on the Board. She later became a Company Member and is also a Friend. She strongly believes that the Mystery Plays are a vital part of the life and history of the City and “long may they continue”.
Diana is the archivist for the Chester Mystery Plays. Diana retired from full-time work as senior lecturer in the department of History and Archaeology in the University of Chester in 2012. Since then she has become involved in a number of local archive projects, having originally trained as an archivist, and having worked in the University of London library and the Cheshire Record Office.
Profile coming soon
Ronno is a Board Member of Theatre in The Quarter and has a strong commitment to community based arts. She became a company member of CMP in 2010 and performed in the 2008 cycle. Ronno is also a director and trustee of Fallen Angels.
Jill Houlbrook became involved with the Mystery Plays when she was Lord Mayor of City of Chester. Although she is an elected borough councillor and member of the City of Chester Trustees her interest in and support for the plays is also very personal. Jill has a part in the plays on her bucket list.
Profile coming soon
Hilarie McNae is both a former Magistrate and Sheriff of the City of Chester. She is a Freeman of the City of Chester and so provides a link between today`s Freemen and the medieval Freemen who performed these plays on the streets of Chester. Whilst President of the Freemen and Guilds she organised a group of Freemen from all over England who processed in their robes from the Guildhall to watch the 2003 performance at the Cathedral. She first took part in the plays whilst still at school and was a Board member for some 20 years.
Eric served as Executive Member for Culture & Leisure immediately prior to his retirement from Chester City Council in 2009. He was a member of the Chester Gateway Theatre Board for 20 years, and also served on Arts Council England (North West). He was a founder Board member of Chester Performs and also of Chester Festivals, and has had a lifelong interest in the Arts.
Peter has been involved with theatre and music in Chester and in Ellesmere Port for more than forty years. He acted in productions of the Mystery Plays between 1987 and 2008, and was House Manager in 2013. Peter is a retired surveyor, and is a member of the Quaker meeting in Chester.
John Ross asked Inger Trevor-Barnston in late summer of 1996 to organise a Fund Raising Dinner for 1997’s Mystery Plays. The event took place in the Town Hall in March 1997 and brought in £ 5.000! On the strength of this, Inger was invited to become an associate member, which, a year or two later, led to a full Board Membership. Because of the success of the dinner, she was asked by the Board to continue fund raising which she did for the next 20 years. Inger has particularly enjoyed the company of others and the pride of being part of Chester’s heritage.
Wendy has been a keen supporter of Chester Mystery Plays since her school days in Chester in the 50s and was a member of the Board for four years. She is now a member of the company and on the fund raising committee. She and her team of ladies have on several occasions catered for VIP guests at the plays. For many years she has done voluntary work in local theatres and one of her favourite pastimes is going to see live theatre of all kinds.
Additionally, David Starbuck Edwards is present at our AGMs as representative of the Guilds of Chester.