Cast and crew first get-together
A company of more than 300 players, makers and stitchers met for the first time on Sunday, 29 January to begin preparations to put on the 2023 cycle of the Chester Mystery Plays.
Presented only once every five years by a community cast and crew, the 2023 company hails from Cheshire, Merseyside, North Wales, Wirral, Stoke on Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Milton Keynes. They are actors, singers, musicians, dancers, set, prop and costume makers and a team working front of house.
The mystery plays originate in medieval Chester telling Bible stories as if they took place in Cheshire’s county town. Director John Young, composer and musical director Matt Baker and designer Jess Curtis welcomed the company and introduced their vision for the UK’s largest regularly produced community theatre project, which will be performed at Chester Cathedral in the summer. John, who has recently finished a stint as staff director at London’s National Theatre, said: “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 Chester Mystery Plays cycle was in 2018, before the COVID pandemic.
Chair of the Chester Mystery Plays company Ian Sanderson said: “It was quite emotional to be able to welcome such a huge community cast, considering the challenges we have all faced over the past three years. There were many new faces and it was lovely to see players who have taken part before – it was a joy to behold.”.