CHESTER Mystery Plays will go down in history thanks to a massive boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The plays, which date to medieval Chester, have been given a grant of £47,400 from the Your Heritage Fund.
The money is for the Sharing the Mystery project, which aims to widen the understanding and enjoyment of the plays, increase educational opportunities and build a volunteer pool to help conserve the plays.
The project will involve creating an archive of the modern revival of the plays from 1951-2000 (heritage in this case is defined as being more than 10 years old), a community project to capture memories and memorabilia from the same time, an education programme focusing on young people and a volunteer development programme.
Chester Mystery Plays chairman Jo Sykes said: “I am absolutely thrilled. This grant gives us credibility and the incentive to move on and it will protect and assure the future of the plays.”
The project will be coordinated by Jane Dawson, who has been a director of the Chester Mystery Plays Company since 2005.
Another post of Education Outreach Worker will be advertised in the New Year.
The new archive will be stored at the University of Chester and other key partners include Cheshire Record Office, Chester Cathedral and Bishops’ Blue Coat High School.
The Chester Mystery Plays date to the 14th century, when the city’s freemen and guilds performed tales from the Bible to the city’s populace who didn’t understand church services in Latin.
They were written by the monastic scholars of the Abbey of St Werburgh, now Chester Cathedral.
The next cycle of the Chester Mystery Plays will be performed at Chester Cathedral in 2013.