2014 YMPST Waggon Play
The Supporters’ Trust performed The Entry into Jerusalem. Simon Tompsett (who had previously directed The Crucifixion for the Butchers) was appointed Director, with committee member Angie Millard as Assistant Director.
Angie very luckily got the services of Jonathan Brockbank as musical director – as well as playing accordion and violin for the Ebor Morris he had a fund of knowledge about folk dances and the South Yorkshire carolling traditions, and directed the singing and processional dancing by the cast.
The play was set just before WW1, and the cast plundered every charity clothes shop for miles around to find period (or at least, out-of-date) clothes, and assembled their own costumes under the close supervision of Jo Keogh and Izzy Carrick. Costumes were hired for a few of the burghers with speaking roles, such as an out-of-date police uniform, again to give a period flavour.
The set was designed by Mike Rogers and Richard Sheils, and was basically a ceremonial green arch, as would once have been set up in a town to greet royalty or other important folk, and was built on the waggon by the waggon-master, Dave al-Bahrani Peacock.
The waggons were built and the dress rehearsal took place at the James Street site that had previously been used by the bus company and then by the Theatre Royal. The Trust raised funds, including (for the first time) taking a day at the St Crux hall to generate additional income, and the whole production came in within the expected budget.
Overall our first foray into the waggon plays went well, with a large cast clearly enjoying the performances, and lots of singing and dancing in addition to the written text, and generally boded well for future outings.
2018 YMPST Waggon Play
The 2018 Waggon Plays were held on Sunday 9th September and Sunday 16th with a midweek performance held on 12th September.
The Supporters Trust performed the Harrowing of Hell. We were delighted that Ben Prusiner accepted our invitation to direct the production. Ben is the artistic director of Re:Verse Theatre, which stages socially conscious productions of classical plays. He has directed in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles & Japan, and holds an MA in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York. In York he has directed twice for the York Shakespeare Project (King Lear & Henry VIII) as well as Re:Verse Theatre’s Volpone, or Out-Foxed at Rowntree Park as part of the York International Shakespeare Festival.
Following his agreement to work with us Ben wrote: I‘m thrilled to be directing The Harrowing of Hell for the Trust’s addition to the Mystery Plays Waggon Cycle. York’s theatrical tradition is incredibly exciting and unique, and I’m grateful for the chance to be involved with an organization that has kept the passion for these plays alive for so many years. The Harrowing is an exciting drama in its own right, with opportunities for great theatricality, dramatic conflict, and stunning visuals. I’m excited to get started and meet everyone who wants to be a part of it!