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Chester Mystery Plays back on the streets for Easter

Lucius the donkey takes a starring role in free Good Friday extravaganza for all the family

Chester Mystery Plays back on the streets

Preparations for the return of the Chester Mystery Plays to the streets of the city are reaching their final stages.

When the Chester Mystery Plays were taken on by the local Guilds in the 1300s, they were performed on the streets and Rows of the city centre on wagons that were pulled from site to site.

“We’re not on wagons this time,” said artistic director Matt Baker. “There are far too many of us! Nearly 200 people will be performing the Chester City Passion on Good Friday morning - our community chorus and actors will be joined by children from Chester Blue Coat Church of England Primary School, St Clare’s Catholic Primary School and St Werburgh’s and St Columba’s Catholic Primary School, by some scary Roman soldiers, Karamba Samba and Lucius the donkey. It will be a wonderful spectacle.”

Lucius, who lives in Frodsham with Doug and Meriel Cashin, is no stranger to the Chester Mystery Plays.

He performed in the 2008 production and was seen on film carrying Jesus into Jerusalem in 2013.

He will reprise this performance on Good Friday as he proudly brings Jesus under the Eastgate Clock surrounded by the performers and school children.

Chester Mystery Plays back on the streets

Related: City Passion Play is a Mystery event

Chester Mystery Plays chairman Jo Sykes said: “We were thrilled when the cathedral and Churches Together asked us to perform the Passion on the city’s streets and the Rows. We’ve been planning it for a few months, rehearsals started at the beginning of February and now it’s here!”

At the full company rehearsal on Sunday the Northgate Church roof was raised by Karamba Samba, performers and school children singing a very loud “Hosanna!”. “Everyone has worked so hard,” Jo added. “One of the performers asked me whether I still feel anything when I see a performance after the 50 or so years I’ve been involved in the plays. The answer is definitely yes.

“I went through the whole range of emotions on Sunday - joy and laughter through to huge sadness and tears. The company and Matt have done a truly amazing job in a very short time.”

Chester Mystery Plays back on the streets

The Chester City Passion performance will start at the Eastgate Clock at 10.30am on Good Friday, March 25 with Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem.

Jesus (carried by Lucius) and his followers will process to the Cross for the Temple scene and the Last Supper.

The performance will then move to the Town Hall Square for Gethsemane and the trial, finishing at the west door of the cathedral with the crucifixion.

This will be a free event, suitable for all the family. For more information visit chestermysteryplays.com

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