York Mystery Plays and the YMPST

Keeping the story alive

Supporting and maintaining the community tradition of the Mystery Plays in the city of York.

The History of
York Mystery Plays

York Mystery Plays archive 1976

The York Mystery Plays are a cycle of 48 pageants (individual plays) covering biblical events from Creation to the Last Judgement.  Other Mystery Play cycles exist but York stands out as having the most complete.

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Recent York Mystery
Plays Productions

Resurrection for York took place on 3 & 4 July 2021 in Resident’s Garden, Dean’s Park, York. This was a community, outdoor, production between the Trust, York Festival Trust and York Minster. It was staged on two wagons, in an enclosed area, in order to meet current national guidelines.

YMPST Mystery
Plays Productions

York Mystery Plays Waggons 2018 - The Harrowing Of Hell

The Trust staged the first of its own productions , the Entry to Jerusalem directed by Simon Tompsett , as part of the Wagon Play pageant of 2014.  In 2018, again took part in the Waggon Play cycle with the Harrowing of Hell, directed by Ben Prusiner.

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‘The Flood’ is coming this year!
Now we’re looking for a Director for our next Wagon Play
York Festival Trust is arranging a festival of wagon plays on the last two Sundays this June, and possibly one evening
(Sunday 19th, Wednesday 22nd and Sunday 26th June).

Tom Straszewski is again overall co-ordinator of the event. This time there will be 8 plays, each partnered with a guild. We will be working with the Company of Cordwainers of the City of York There are two scripts: Shipwrights – The Building of the Ark and Fishers and Mariners – The Flood. Tom has provided a modernised script of both. Because there are fewer plays in the overall event, our play could run longer as it needs to cover The Flood and the Building of the Ark.
Tom’s brief for the overall event is this: “Our theme this year is “reduce, reuse, recycle” – and more broadly the idea of sustainability and transformation. That includes the emphasis of individual plays, but also the work of sustaining the plays themselves, the community of communities that have formed around them, and the wider environment. This continues on a practical level – you are encouraged to re-use old set, props, costumes, and to source as much as you can from charity shops, junkyards, attics etc. Many of you are already doing this, of course, but I encourage everybody to start building this into your process now.”
YMPST have approved a director’s fee of £500. You are expected to rehearse on one weekday evening and one weekend afternoon in York. We have a capable Pageant Wagon Master, Richard Hampton, willing to build your ark. If you are interested in applying, email our Secretary maurice.crichton@ntlworld.com to express your interest. An Information Pack will be sent to you on receipt of your email, which will tell you more about this opportunity. Applications should include your initial ideas for The Flood on one side of A4 and a CV. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview in York in the last week of January. If that week is impossible don’t be deterred from getting in touch.
The closing date for applications is 10pm on Friday 21 January 2022. This is an open call. We are interested to hear from anyone who would like to lead this production.

The York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust

YMPST was set up after the 2012 York Mystery Plays in Museum Gardens. We are a charitable incorporated organisation which exists to advance the education of the public in the medieval Mystery Plays of York.


York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust raising funds at St Crux

Find out more about the YMPST, its goals and what it has achieved so far.

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York Mystery Plays Waggons 2018 - The Harrowing Of Hell

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York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust raising funds at St Crux

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