York Mystery Plays

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The People

Below are illustrations of some of the notable people who have been involved in the York Mystery Plays since 1951. The attached page lists people performing key roles, and the Archive holds every programme and every castlist.

Click here for a castlist from the Millennium production in the Minster

Click here for a castlist of the 2012 production

Click here for a castlist of the 2014 Wagons

Click here for the castlist of the 2016 production in the Minster

Victor Banerjee 1988
Victor Banerjee

Jesus: 1988





Steve Bielby as God
Steve Bielby
God: 2010 (and other years)


Peter Blanshard 1969
Peter Blanshard

Jesus: 1969




David Bradley 1976
David Bradley

Jesus: 1976. A York man who became a professional actor






E Martin Browne
E. Martin Browne

Director: 1951, 1954, 1957, 1966



Tom Criddle 1960
Tom Criddle
Jesus: 1960







Judi Dench as angel
Judi Dench

Angel of the Resurrection: 1954 (also Angel: 1951 and Mary: 1957); Wagon Plays patron







Betty Doig as countrywoman
Betty Doig
Actor, Props and Wardrobe since 1974.


Greg Doran, 2000
Greg Doran

Director: 2000 (Minster Millennium production)



Ruth Ford, Last Judgement
Ruth Ford
God: 2002 (also God 1996 and various roles since 1973)


Dean Furnell, 2000
Very Rev Ray Furnell, Dean of York
Chairman: Millennium production in York Minster



Patrick Garland 1980

Patrick Garland

Director: 1980



David Giles 1960
David Giles
Director: 1960




Robson Green 1992
Robson Green

1992: Jesus (Robson Green) tempted by Lucifer (Jonathan Mellor)





Ursula Groom 1994
Ursula Groom

Wardrobe: 1994, but various roles including Treasurer of Festival Trust


John M Hall


 John M Hall

God: 2000 (and other roles in other years)


Hans Hess

Hans Hess

curator of York Art Gallery and Asst. Director, 1951 Festival



John Heu in 1957


John Heu

Lazarus: 1957 (and Judas 1951, 1954)



Jane Howell 1976
Jane Howell
Director: 1976




Rory Mulvihill
Rory Mulvihill

Herod: 2012 (and numerous roles including Annas, 2016)



Jane Oakshott
Jane Oakshott MBE
Director: 1994, 1998



Joseph O'Conor
Joseph O'Conor
Jesus: 1951, 1954




Patrick Olsen on set
Patrick Olsen
Set designer: 1969 (also photographer and donor to NCEM archive)




Stephen Pimlott

Stephen Pimlott

Director: 1988





Richard Shephard


Richard Shephard

Composer and Musical Director: 2000 and 2016



Eileen Skaife- rehearsal

Eileen Skaife
Citizen: 1960 (far left) She has played various roles and donated photographs and scrapbooks to the NCEM archive.

Brian Spink Jesus 1957

Brian Spink
Jesus: 1957, the year the Queen met the cast.





Geraldine Stephenson


Geraldine Stephenson
Director of Movement: 1951, 1954, 1957




Ray Stevenson, 2000
Ray Stevenson

Jesus: 2000 (Minster Millennium production)

Edward Taylor
Edward Taylor
Director: 1969, 1973



Christopher Timothy
Christopher Timothy
Jesus: 1980 (He also opened the Play as 'Nick the Carpenter', an Everyman figure.)



Delma Tomlin MBE

Delma Tomlin MBE
Director: York Festival; Chief Executive: Millennium production; Director: NCEM



Paul Toy

Paul Toy
Assistant Director: Minster Millennium production (and many other roles including Bishop, 2016)




Mike Tyler 2010 Jesus


Mike Tyler
Jesus: 2010 (and many other roles, including Pageant Master)



1973 Herod
Douglas Waft
Herod: 1973; also Joseph: 1968





Simon Ward on cross

Simon Ward
Jesus: 1984 (photo from 1988 programme)

John Westbrook

John Westbrook
Jesus: 1966



John White

John White
Jesus: 1969. One of three actors playing Jesus that year: see the attached page.



This guide shows just some of the many individuals who have taken part in York Mystery Plays over the years. We would like to add to it. For instance, our archive has no picture of Alan Dobie playing Jesus in 1963. Can you help?

Professional actors who started their careers in the York Mystery Plays are known to include: Judi Dench, Jane Snowdon, David Bradley, John White (stage name = Richard Conway), Edward Petherbridge, Mary Ure, Janet McTeer, Richard Coyle, Toby Gordon, Joe Hopper. The NCEM would like to extend this list.

If you have any archival material (no matter how small) which you would like to share with the archive volunteer at the National Centre for Early Music, please see the Contact Us page.