A NEW course designed to coincide with the Chester Mystery Plays is to offer participants an insight into the original medieval scripts and production techniques.
The Chester Mystery Plays course will be led by Dr Andrea Young, an expert in medieval drama from the University of Liverpool’s Continuing Education Programme.
The course will consist of four weekly meetings beginning on Thursday, May 30 (6.30-8pm), and will take place at Bishop Lloyds Palace, 51-53 Watergate Row South.
No knowledge of Middle English is required as modern spelling versions will be used. Two sessions will be devoted to Old Testament episodes and two to the New Testament.
Dr Young consulted Stephanie Dale, writer of the 2013 plays, to choose some of the plays featured.
The course will look at the Noah Play and the Antichrist play, and potential students can tweet Dr Young @HumanumGenus to make suggestions for the other two.
Each session will include a short presentation and the chance to read and analyse the original texts, looking for clues as to the staging and key themes. There will also be lots of cross references to historical records and plenty of time for discussion.
Dr Young said: “Though primarily biblical, the Chester Mystery Plays contain a lot of social realism and deal directly with issues that are common to us today – corrupt authority, sexual politics, the stresses of work, family issues and more.
“You will be amazed how easy it is to relate to the original scripts and to appreciate the ingenuity of the staging.
“I hope that learning about the plays in the same city – on one of the same streets, in fact - where the words were first spoken and music played, will add a very important dimension, and whet the audience’s appetite for the live performances.”
Dr Young has a PhD in medieval drama from the University of Liverpool, where she studied under the supervision of Professor David Mills, co-editor of the definitive edition of the Chester Mystery Cycle.
She is the academic consultant for the Liverpool Passion Plays at Liverpool Cathedral, regularly gives papers at conferences on medieval literature, and is currently preparing parts of her doctoral thesis for publication.
For more information visit the University of Liverpool’s Continuing Education website www.liv.ac.uk/conted/ or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 794 6900.