York mysteries with a modern twist

14 Aug 2012 @ 8.46 pm
| Entertainment

A twist on the mystery: the Modern Mysteries
The York Mystery Plays 2012 are not the only dramatic action taking place in the Museum Gardens this month. Alongside the monumental revival of the Bible story, six short plays by local writers are being showcased.

The Modern Mysteries is a collaboration with the York branch of Script Yorkshireand features original scripts based on modern interpretations from the mystery plays cycle.

One of the new works, Refuge, started as a stage play and has now been adapted into an audio drama which you can hear by clicking below.

Refuge is an extraordinarily harrowing and moving piece by York writer Bill Hodson. Hodson, a self-employed consultant, has lived in York for more than 20 years. He started writing again in 2011 after attending creative writing courses run by prize-winning poetCarole Bromley at the University of York’s Centre For Lifelong Learning.

Hodson says: “Refuge is inspired by the medieval mystery play about Mary and Joseph’s flight to Egypt to escape Herod – who was determined to kill their son, Jesus, and who subsequently ordered the deaths of all baby boys under the age of two.

“I was particularly interested to find a modern parallel about families seeking refuge from war and the brutal treatment of children in some parts of the world.

“The central character of Refuge is Makemba, a young woman who has fled to England from the Congo having been raped by dissident soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army. It deals with her fight to gain asylum and a chance to give a new life to her son and the struggles which the immigration authorities have in comprehending the true horror of what has happened to her – and is still happening to others today.”

Several different York theatre groups have been involved in adapting and staging the play series, including Snickelway Theatre Company, the Flanagan Collective and the Theatre Royal’s Pilot Theatre company.

Rebecca Stafford, producer of the Modern Mysteries, adds: “York-based theatre companies have worked collaboratively to create a unique community theatre experience; short plays written by local writers, performed by local actors in spectacular surroundings.”

Four of the other plays (The Creation, Fields Of Gold, Neither The Day Nor The Hour and Murmur) can be seen free at the Museum Gardens this week from Wednesday, August 15, until Sunday, August 19, at 5.45pm. Running time is approximately 1hr 20 minutes.

On Bank Holiday Monday, August 27, all six plays will be shown (the four listed above, together with Resurrection, and a stage version of Refuge), starting at 5pm, the performance lasts approximately 1hr 50 minutes.

Refuge can be downloaded to phone, laptop or tablet devices here, or accessed via the Mystery Plays website.