Press Cuttings : York Mystery Plays agreement sewn up, Jan 1992
Item type: Press Cuttings Archive reference: YMP/F/13/1/2 Date/year: 7 January 1992 Description: York Evening Press 7 January 1992. Colin Young writes about the new production of the Mystery Plays. Photograph: 'Councillor Ken King, left, and Professor Patrick Nuttgens sign the agreement for the Mystery Plays to be performed at the Theatre Royal.' (Below)
'York Theatre Royal has officially become the setting for the 1992 York Mystery Plays. The Chairman of the York Festival and Mystery Plays Board, Counsellor Ken King, and the Chairman of York Theatre Royal, Professor Patrick Nuttgens, signed the contract to clinch the deal last night. The Theatre Royal management will shortly be releasing details about the production for the Mystery Plays, as well as the name of the star role actor. After signing the contract Coun. King said that this meant that the mystery plays in 1992 will definitely take place. The Theatre Board had come to the rescue of the Festival and Mystery Plays Board by agreeing to produce the plays. He said "I think it will give the Mystery Plays some security. Equally, I think that people will find producing the plays inside the theatre will give them a new dimension and it will be as exciting, if not more exciting, in a theatre such as this. It will be very successful and aI guess that while some people may have reservations at the moment, once they have seen the plays they will be as excited as we are and will ask they are produced in surroundings such as these again." Coun. King said that the financial costs of producing the Mystery Plays in the Museum Gardens had proved to be too great for the Festival Board. "Quite clearly, whether the festival had financial problems or not, it would have had to look at the possibility of producing them at another venue." Professor Nuttgens said the theatre now had the responsibilities for producing, promoting and casting the Mystery Plays. The director, scene designers and main actor will soon be appointed. "We will use every bit of the theatre, including the exits, entries and the patio. It will be a very colourful and rather unusual performance. I am hoping this will be the beginning of a regular arrangement for the future festivals and that they will be done by the theatre but not necessarily inside the theatre. It should mke a tremendous success and I think we are in business for a very long time to come." The Festival Board has still to sign contracts with the director of the Barbican Centre Murray Edwards and the Director of Leisure Services, Paul Chesmore, which Coun. King said would be completed within the next few days.'
Professor Nuttgens was a York historian. The last Mystery Play production had been in the Museum Gardens in 1988. This agreement between the City Council and the Theatre Royal constituted a rescue for the Plays.