York Mystery Plays

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Key roles and actors

Below is are listed the Directors and (in order of appearance) the core roles of God, Satan and Beelzebub, Mary the Virgin and the Mother, and Jesus, from 1951 to 2014. The plays were in the Museum Gardens unless otherwise stated.

If you wish to know who played other parts, you will find them in the relevant programmes in the searchable archive. For the 2000 cast see this webpage; for the 2012 cast see this webpage; for the 2014 cast see this page, for 2018 see this page. For 2022 images see this page.
1951, 1954, 1957: Martin E Browne
1960: David Giles
1963: William Gaskill
1966: Martin E Browne
1969, 1973: Edward Taylor
1976: Jane Howell
1980: Patrick Garland
1984: Toby Robertson
1986 and 1987: Simon Tompsett (Yorkshire Mysteries, Arts Centre Micklegate)
1988: Steven Pimlott (Museum Gardens)
1992: Ian Forrest (Theatre Royal)Tom Straszewski 2018
1994: Jane Oakshott (Wagons)
1996: John Doyle (Theatre Royal)
1998: Jane Oakshott (Wagons)
2000: Gregory Doran (Minster Millennium Production)
2002: Mike Tyler (Wagon pageant master)
2006: Mike Tyler (Wagon Pageant master)
2010: Lesley Wilkinson and Paul Toy (Wagons)
2012: Damien Cruden and Paul Burbridge
2014: (Wagons) Deborah Pakkar-Hull
2016: Phillip Breen (York Minster production)
2018: (Wagons) Tom Straszewski- right
2019: (A Nativity for York) Philip Parr
2022: (Wagons) Tom Straszewski
2022: (A Nativity for York) Alan Heaven
2023: (Baptism) Paul Toy

When performed in the traditional way on wagons, there is more than one actor playing these roles.
God the Father:
1951: Not credited in programme
1954: John Jacob
1957: Frank Shelley
1960: Robert Eddison
1963: Alan Dobie
1966: John Westbrook
1969: Peter Blanshard, Gerald Lomas, John White played God, Jesus and Judas in rotation. Until then the role of Jesus had been thought to be too gruelling for an amateur actor.
1968 cutting on combining roles1973, 1976: David Johnson
1980: James Park
1984: Keith Jefferson (also played Herod)
1986 (Arts Centre): Charles Kightly
1988: Jon Lacy-Colson
1992 (Theatre Royal): Roger Farrington
1994: Richard Coyle, Tessa Norton
1996 (Theatre Royal): Ruth Ford
1998: (Wagons) Brian Wilson, Steve Bielby, Malcolm Smith, Brian Graystone, John M. Hall
2000: John M. Hall (Minster Millennium production: full cast list here)
2002 (Wagons): Brian Wilson, Steve Bielby,(Voice) Edward Corner, James Sheppard, Owain Davies; Robyn MacNamara; Ruth Ford, Jack O'Brien
2006 (Wagons): James Bailey, Brian Wilson, Philippa Grainger, Ruth Ford, Tim Holman
2010 (Wagons): Steve Bielby; Sean O'Brien; Ed Brindley
2012 (Museum Gardens) : Ferdinand Kingsley (Full cast list here)
2014 (Wagons): Steve Bielby, Taylor Sanderson, Charles Hunt, Alan Heaven
2016 (Minster): Ian Small
2018 (Wagons): Steve Bielby, Eve Clark, Martin Sheppard, Adam Hall
2022 (Wagons) Jodie Fletcher, Daniel Wilmot, Mia Bedingham, Tony Froud, Diane Heaven
Lucifer, Beelzebub
1951: John van Eyssen, Peter Ellis
1954: John van Eyssen, John Pickles
1957: Robert Rietty, Gerald Morden
1960: Harold Lang, Michael Beckham
1963: Ian McShane, Jack Brook
1966: David Henshaw, Philip Barnes
1969: Christopher Butchers, James Duguid
1973: Joseph Copley
1976: Raymond Platt, Chris Woodcock
1980: Peter Jackson, Alan Inglis
1984: Philip Tait
1986: Brian Higginson (Yorkshire Mysteries in Arts Centre)Satan at Last Judgement 2014
1988: David McDade, Paul Masterson
1992 (Theatre Royal): Jonathan Mellor
1994 The nine wagon plays did not feature Satan; Gemma Cairns (in Citizens' Play)
1996 (Theatre Royal): David Parkinson
1998 (Wagons): Helen Evans, Sam Valentine, Mike Tyler, Lesley Wilkinson
2000: (Minster Millennium Production) Rory Mulvihill, John Roden
2002: Neil Ward, Emma Jane Wheelan, Tim Holman
2006 (Wagons): Fran Coleman, Lee Gemmell, Alan Lyons, Sam Valentine, Charles Hunt
2010 (wagons): Charlotte Terry; Charles Hunt; Josh Baines
2012 (Museum Gardens): Graeme Hawley; Catherine Edge, Liberty Hutchinson
2014 (Wagons):Ben Franks, Willow Pollock, Mark Comer, James Harrison, Sam Ryan
2016 (Minster) Toby Gordon (Joe Hopper understudied 4 nights)
2018 (Wagons) James Swanton, Kelly Docker, Lydia Juhrich, Becky Sheard, Roger Wood
2022 (Wagons) Leila Wright, Steve Ellis, Mick Liversidge
Mary the Virgin, Mary the Mother
1951: Mary Ure
1954: Jean Buckle
1957: Judi Dench
1960: Louise Liversidge
1963: Morag Butler, Edna Shann
1966: Loretta Ward, Henzie Raeburn
1969: Teresa Forbes Adam
1973: Andree Pugsley, Mavis Deighton (bottom:Mary and Jesus with the Magi 1973)
1976: Jo Woollons, Betty Doig
Ruby Barker in 20161980: Penn Charles, Edna Shann
1984: Jane Snowden
1986: Ruth Garside (Yorkshire Mysteries in Arts Centre) 1988: Sue Parkinson
1992: (Theatre Royal): Kate Thomson
1994 (wagons): Emily van Evera (Annunciation) Lynn Bourke (Nativity), Freda Ward (Way to Calvary), Julia Gregory (Assumption of Mary)
1996: Lauren O'Rooke Walker, Gwyneth Young
1998 (Wagons): Annette Mariette, Chloe Oaks, Anne Cooper
2000 (Minster Millennium Production): Frances Marshall, Julie Craggs
2002:Elisabeth Reddish; Briony Garety; Lottie Alexander
2006 (Wagons): Katherine King, Lindsay Townsend, Aimie Neighbour
2010 (Wagons): Claire Morley; Pam Jackson Vickers, Marion Goodrick
2012 (Museum Gardens) This year the community players were in two teams: Lydia Onyett, Rachel Price; Jane Allanach, Melanie Dagg-Robinson
2014 (Wagons): Marion Goodrick
2016 (Minster production): Ruby Barker
2018 (Wagons): Meredith Stewart, Marion Goodrick
2019 (A Nativity for York): Raqhael Harte
2022 (Wagons): Riding Lights team
2022 (A Nativity for York): Anastasia Crook
1951, 1954: Joseph O'Conor
1957: Brian Spink
1960: Tom Criddle
1963: Alan Dobie Alan Dobie 1963
1966: John Westbrook
1969: Peter Blanshard, Gerald Lomas and John White played God, Jesus and Judas in rotation
1973: John-Stuart Anderson
1976: David Bradley
1980: Christ: Christopher Timothy; Baby Jesus - Nicholas Ross
1984: Simon Ward (the archive needs a good photo of him in this role)
1987: several, including Martin Bartlett
1988: Victor Banerjee
1992 (Theatre Royal): Robson Green
1994 (Wagons): Mark Comer, Brian Graystone, Anthony Curtis
1996 (Theatre Royal): Rory Mulivihill
1998 (Wagons): Graham Hudson, Kit Bird, Julian Rendell, Mark Reilly, Roger Dixon, Robert Jason Wright, John Gray
2000 (Minster Millennium Production): Ray Stevenson
2002: (Wagons) Bob Cummings; John Sharpe; Christian Newton; Adrian Widdowson; John Gray
2006 (Wagons): Josh King, Ben Fogarty, Tom Frere, Robert Jeffs, Kit Bird, Paul Stonehouse
2010 (Wagons): Mark Burghagen, Mike Tyler, Andie Cowan; Robert Goldsborough, Neil Tattersall, Adrian Widdowson, Tomas Moore
2012 (Museum Gardens): Ferdinand Kingsley
2014 (Wagons): Charlie Johnston, John Hoyland, Ehren Mierau, Laurence O'Reilly, James Osman, Martin Sheppard, Hugh Stubbins
2016 (Minster): Philip McGinley (and Toby Gordon, understudy, 4 nights)
2018 (Wagons): Hannah Eggleton, Joy Warner, David Phillips, Julian Finnigan
2021 (Passion, Dean's Gardens) David Denbigh
2022 (Wagons): Zach Wesley, Matthew Lomax, Wren Crawford
2023 (Baptism) : Michael Maybridge

Below: The Magi (Ken Brown, Hugh Sweeny, Arthur Naylor) visit Mary (Andree Pugsley) Joseph (Peter Aughton) and the Christchild, 1973. Back to The People