About the Plays

2018 Production

Earlier Productions

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Tim Strafford, Dean of Chester

Dean of Chester wowed by Plays...

I was privileged to attend a preview of the Chester Mystery Plays on Tuesday night. Wow! I hope you have got your tickets. If not, you had better book soon before they all sell out. Be warned. The production, performances and script are very strong. This is probably not theatre for audience members who are less than their most robust. This staging of the Chester Mystery Plays will engage your heart and emotions as much as it will your mind and your spirit. It is a feast to the eyes and to the ears, accompanied by a superb score by Matt Baker. Such a contemporary production of this fourteenth century script connects the audience powerfully with Cestrians who lived here six hundred years ago. The text is vibrant and full of resonances that chime with life in today’s world. Sometimes it is difficult to register that this was written two hundred years before Shakespeare’s plays. The current script is very faithful to that which has been handed down over the centuries. Many of us live with the myth that the Church only ever spoke and read the Bible in Latin before Henry VIII. These Mystery Plays tell the story of God’s dealings with human history in an extraordinary way with real faithfulness to the Bible without ever becoming preachy or dull. And these plays pre-date any translation of scripture into the English language. This was how our medieval predecessors absorbed their understanding of religion and maybe we have a thing or two to learn still today. Some may want to question the strong and vivid approach that the production team have taken. Well, read the Bible and you will find it strong and vivid in just the same way. The Chester Mystery Plays do nothing to tame the story. I dare you all to take the risk, buy your tickets, and prepare to be challenged and changed. 

Tim Stratford, Dean