The Mysteries

April 2013

The Mystery Plays represent the beginnings of English drama. Performed by the craft guilds around mediaeval cities, they were designed to teach the stories and lessons of the Bible - Old and New Testaments - at a time when not only was the Bible not translated into English, but most people could not read anyway.

They are a rugged but poetic way of telling stories, and are told with humour, passion, and a relentless devotion to moving the plot along.

Estuary Players are aiming to make this a big production, with a live band throughout, a large cast and all in the exciting setting of Topsham's magnificent parish church. We are using the adaptation made by poet Tony Harrison for the acclaimed National Theatre production in the early 80's, although that eventually extended to three full plays, and included long plays about the Harrowing of Hell and Doomsday which we are not going to attempt.

Harrison drew on all the extant cycles, the complete ones of which are the York, Wakefield and Coventry versions, and he retained the mediaeval English where it was understandable still, but where not he retained a Northern rhythm and vocabulary so that the whole is as authentic as it can be and still be perfectly understandable to modern audiences.


Cast - David Batty, Ben Beeson, John Bradley, Maggie Butt, Alan Caig, Joana Crisostomo, Bob Drury, Chris Eilbeck, Howard Eilbeck, Sally Elkington, Tom Epton, Helen Foster, Gordon Halliday, Jacquie Howatson, Rob Hole, Victoria Jones, Jill Mather, Antony Morris, Keith Palmer, Avril Pattinson, Bill Pattinson, Clare Philbrock, Ian Potts, Cass Thorne, Lynn Trout, Angela Wallwork, Kate Wannell, Rosemary Whitehurst, Geoff Williams, Carys Williams, Hannah Williams, Rhodri Williams

The Band - Ben Beeson, Keyboards; Frazer Kerslake, Bass; Ray Girvan, Accordion; Steve Preston, Bassoon; Ron Murray, Keyboards and Guitar;; Joe Hodges, drums; Brian Wallwork, Woodwind; Chris Cartwright, Woodwind; Roger Webster, Hurdy Gurdy

The Chorus - Geoffrey Brace, Sheila Burgess, Jo Meredith, Alison Marsh

Solo Singers - Rosie Mullin, Alex Ford

Production Team:

Director - Alan Caig

Musical Director - Ben Beeson

Assistant Directors - Ian Potts (performance), Janine Warre (technical)

Assistant Musical Directors - Ron Murray, Geoffrey Brace

Design and Publicity - Phil Keen

Construction - Eliot Wright

Lighting - Peter Tapp

Props Co-ordination - Marie Taylor

Wardrobe Team - Janine Warre, Clare Philbrock, Isla Morgan, Angela Wailwork, Sylvia Brace, Maggie Butt

Photography - Victoria Jones, Bryan Wallwork

Business Management - Rosie Munns, Howard Eilbeck

Original Music Score - Ben Beeson

Props Assistant - Cally Pettit


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