Thanks to support from National Lottery players, Great Malvern Priory is to be the setting for a modern Mystery Play later in the Spring. It will involve a cast of almost 50 local people and in a dramatic turnaround Lucifer will be a woman in order to equalise the gender balance, and give an actress a role as hefty as that of Jesus.
The play will be cast and directed by Rob Swinton. ‘It tells the story of the world, from its beginning to its end, from God creating the universe to the last trump,’ he said.
‘I will be combining texts from the 15th and 16th centuries and the Townley Cycle, which is a script that is quite political. The cast will be in modern dress because I wanted to make the point that two thousand years later we still have evil characters like Herod.’
Rob is using two professional actors for the parts of God and Lucifer but is looking for local students and residents to fill a further 46 roles, some small, some more demanding. ‘As well as actors, I need people to be part of a choir, plus instrumentalists, prop makers, costumiers, and folk to help with quick changes.’ To find out more, come to a meeting at 2pm on 16th February and/or on 23rd February in the Priory. The play will be staged towards the end of April and early May.
Mystery Plays were first created to complement the stories told in stained glass windows in churches. This production will take place inside the Priory which will be dramatically transformed for the performances. It is anticipated that over a two week period it will attract a huge audience.
‘We are very grateful to the National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund for their generosity,’ said Rob. ‘Without their help it would be difficult to stage something which will hopefully bring thousands of people into our beautiful building.’ Rob Swinton is a Malvern man. He is a prize winning professional actor and director and has been artistic director of the Stafford Shakespeare Festival. He produced a Mystery Play in the Priory in the year 2000 and also produced a Son et Lumière in 2010.
For more information, please visit the Great Malvern priory website by clicking here.