East Yorkshire Local History Society

York Mystery Plays

Sunday, 13th May 2012

The return of the greatest story ever told

York Mystery Plays returns to the Museum Gardens

August 2-27 2012

An Olivier Award winning writer, internationally known actors and 1,000 volunteers will create a new interpretation of the famous York Mystery Plays for summer 2012.

Set against the evocative backdrop of the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the plays will be the biggest and most elaborate outdoor theatre production ever to have taken place in the city.

Mike Kenny, who won the Olivier Award for York Theatre Royal’s and the National Railway Museum’s The Railway Children, will reinterpret the plays, which it is hoped will be seen by 28,000 people throughout August 2012.

The medieval cycle of York Mystery Plays has been told by the people of York for hundreds of years and is deeply embedded in the City’s cultural heritage. They will spectacularly tell the story of the eternal battle between good and evil – from creation to the last judgement.

Produced by York Theatre Royal, Riding Lights Theatre Company and York Museums Trust and supported by City of York Council, it is the first time the plays have been performed in the Museum Gardens since 1988.


The plays will take place in the Museum Gardens from August 2 to August 27 2012, with covered seating for 1,400 people being especially built around the ancient walls of St Mary’s Abbey. More than 1,000 local people will join forces with a large professional team to help create this spectacular production. It is the first large scale production since the plays were held in York Minster in 2000.
The professional actors involved in the plays and the plays included in Mike Kenny’s interpretation are set to be announced later in the year.

Joint Artistic Directors for the 2012 production, Paul Burbridge (Riding Lights) and Damian Cruden (York Theatre Royal) said in a joint statement: “Our vision is to create a bold, exhilarating piece of story-telling theatre on an operatic scale. To re-invigorate the tradition and the language and make these plays accessible to a modern audience.  We want to stage the Mystery Plays in a way that resonates with both past and present and appeals to those of religious faith or none. “


To find out more about the plays please visit: http://www.yorkmysteryplays2012.com


Show information:

All seats are under cover

Evening performances will start at 7.30pm.

Matinee performances will start at 2.30pm

A range of tickets are available, with discounts for concessions (registered disabled, over 60s and those in receipt of means tested benefits) and children under 16.

Group discounts apply for 10+

Family ticket price available (2 adults, 2 children u16) 

For full ticket prices please visit http://www.yorkmysteryplays-2012.com

For more information, images and interviews, contact Lee Clark, York Museums Trust, on 01904 687673 or email