Revealing the History of Chester's Mystery Plays; 08 Culture Diary

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip Key

IT IS usually not necessary to take a university course on a stage production before going to watch it. But the Chester Mystery Plays are something different.

Dating back to the early 15th century and once banned, the plays are today presented only once every five years.

This year's series will take place from June 28 and there will be two special courses run by Liverpool University to study them.

Organisers of the plays say the tuition - a one-day course and a four-day course - is planned to tie in with their production.

"The courses are designed to provide background and are ideal for anyone wanting to learn about Chester's key role in the history of English drama," a spokesperson said.

The one-day course on April 12 will deal with Medieval mystery plays in general, and the four-day course (four weekly meetings) will concentrate on the Chester Mystery Cycle.

Both will be run by Liverpool University's Continuing Education Programme.

Conducting the courses will be Andrea Young, who says: "They are ideal if you are going to see the plays at Chester Cathedral Green because they will allow people to watch them with an extra insight into how they were originally performed and the strong tradition behind them. …