Stage is all set at Norwich Castle for revival of medieval tradition

The rehearsals for the Medieval Mystery Plays at Norwich Castle. Actors Mark Hayden as Noah, with He

The rehearsals for the Medieval Mystery Plays at Norwich Castle. Actors Mark Hayden as Noah, with Helen Haines as Noah's wife, centre, with the puppet Shem, and Roseanna Frascons, with the puppet Ham's wife. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Norwich Castle's keep is this week the stage for a special revival of a medieval theatrical tradition.

The rehearsals for the Medieval Mystery Plays at Norwich Castle. Actors Mark Hayden as Noah, with He

The rehearsals for the Medieval Mystery Plays at Norwich Castle. Actors Mark Hayden as Noah, with Helen Haines as Noah's wife, centre, with the puppet Shem, and Roseanna Frascons, with the puppet Ham's wife. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The Norwich Medieval Mystery Plays – directed by theatre-maker Peter Beck – opens at the historic venue tomorrow night and presents five centuries-old plays for modern day audiences.

'We have created a mini cycle of plays going from Creation through to Noah's Ark, adapted from the N-Town Cycle and the only remaining Norwich mystery play – The Grocer's Play – which is Paradyse –The Fall of Man,' said Mr Beck.

Throughout this week visitors to the castle have been enjoying a sneak preview as the cast have been rehearsing there ahead of opening night. Three professional actors – Roseanna Frascona, Helen Haines and Mark Hayden – will perform the plays with the help of fellow performers Jen Alexander, Hollie Harrington-Ball and Katherine Evans. Original music has also been created by composer Chris Ellis.

Mr Beck said he was delighted with the great response to the Norwich Medieval Mystery Plays performances – which are sold out – and that it had been interesting to do the final rehearsals in front of visitors to the castle.


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'It's been interesting to be part of a medieval week at the castle where there have been lots of events going on. People have taken a great interest in the mystery plays and their history in Norwich.

'Mystery plays, I think, are a vital part of the cultural heritage of Norwich that we must not lose, especially since Norwich was the most important city outside London during that period and mystery plays were the birth of English theatre.'

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Mystery plays were traditionally performed by trade guilds and this 21st-century project is also involving the Guild of St Stephen and St George. Puppets used in the performance have also been loaned from Norwich Puppet Theatre and a number of local people have been involved in the making of the props.

The Norwich Medieval Mystery Plays performances will take place at 6pm this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The show is currently sold out. To check if returns are available, call 01603 495897 or 493625. Tickets £5. For more, visit www.norwichmedievalmysteryplays.co.uk

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