2,000 YEARS in the making, and: 27,500 volunteer hours given by all of the performance volunteers (and another 4,000 by those making costumes, finding/making props, helping the technical team and supporting administration, marketing and fundraising); 9,000 cups of tea/coffee; 2,600 biscuits; 1,400 Freddos; 600 Kit Kats and about a million emails…

And, as I write this, there’s still 24 hours to go before we open!

Sitting in the dress rehearsals, I’ve been filled with awe and wonder.

The magnificent setting of the cathedral nave, the stunning set design, the extraordinary lighting and special effects, the inspirational music, the sensitive and expressive language – but mainly the passion, commitment and dedication of the ensemble from the tiniest sheep through to the biggest soldier.

Not everyone can play a main role, but every single performer (whether a cellist, cornet player, choir member or child playing a herb) plays their part both on and off stage.

Of course, I know how many people are involved, but I was staggered when they all gathered on the stage to rehearse the curtain call for the first time. That was a moment I will never forget – a fabulous image of community spirit and collaboration.

Chester Mystery Plays happens once every five years. It’s a treasured and extremely special part of Chester’s community, culture and heritage.

This year, the 400 or so people involved (performers on stage and in the cloisters, technicians, front of house, marketing etc) are ready to give the audience an experience they will remember for ever.

Whatever else you do this year, make sure you can say “I was there”!