Chester Mystery Plays

Quinquennial Festival

30th June 1992 to 16th July 1992


For six crocks of ale at general rehearsal...ten shillings
To James Taylor for bread and cakes for general rehearsal...2 shillings
For wine for the said rehearsal...2 shillings and seven pence

1561 details about the preparations for the Chester Mystery Plays certainly show that the original participants did not take an over-solemn approach to their great theatrical festival! The plays themselves demonstrate that although the dramatists sincerely wanted to illuminate the great stories of the Bible, they were also determined to be true to their own human experiences, warts and all. Here are the roots of English drama, featuring the whole gamut of life - physical, political, domestic, as well as, of course, the spiritual.

One of Chester's greatest treasures is its cycle of mystery plays ("mystery" simply means "trade guilds" - plays for the working people); indeed, it is the only complete English language cycle in existence. In 1992 the medieval tradition of separate companies presenting the different plays will be revived. Chester is the only city in the world which recaptures the spirit of the original material in this way, creating a huge and unique Festival involving hundreds (amateurs and professionals) in drama, music, dance, visual arts, circus skills, fireworks, puppets, etc. etc. - about 8 hours of non-stop entertainment!


The Cycle is split into three parts and played over three performances:

Sunday to Friday, evening performances at 7.45pm.

Saturday performances, 4th & 11th July. Performances will be on the Cathedral Green in the open air; please bring suitable clothes for an English summer.
If wet, performances will be within the Cathedral.


Wilmslow Guild Players' play was the first play of Part 2.