Monday 6 March 2023 (Week 8), 4.30–6pm, at St Edmund Hall, Pontigny Room
In this workshop, we will be offering voice projection exercises and practical advice for the Medieval Mystery Cycle. All actors and directors interested in taking part are invited to attend! Beyond general exercises, there will also be an opportunity to work out staging constellations on site at St Edmund Hall (as well as an opportunity to enjoy tea and cake).
The workshop will be led by Dr Jim Harris, the Medieval Mystery Cycle’s Master of Ceremonies and Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum. Let us know if you’re able to join us by emailing Michael Angerer, the graduate convenor.
Friday 3 February 2023 (Week 3), 5–6.30pm, at St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall
Join this workshop for tips and guidance on how to adapt medieval mystery plays for modern performance, a workshop for directors and actors alike. Whether you have already signed up to this year’s Medieval Mystery Cycle on 22 April 2023 or are interested but still unsure how to put together a play or how to act, all are welcome! The focus of the workshop will be on how to cut a medieval play script down to an accessible version (of up to 20 minutes), but there will also be an opportunity to match actors and directors and to discuss any other practical questions you might have on site at St Edmund Hall – and to enjoy tea and cake!
The workshop will be led by David Wiles, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter and a veteran director of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle. Let us know if you’re interested in joining by emailing Michael Angerer, the graduate convenor.
Meanwhile, we’re still looking for groups to join the Medieval Mystery Cycle: have a look at the original blog post with the sign-up link!
The next performance of the Medieval Mystery Plays is held on Saturday 22 April 2023 at St Edmund Hall, 12noon-3:30pm.All welcome! The full programme is available here.
12.00: Extracts from Piers Plowman (Swonken ful harde) Middle English 12.30: The Nativity and Salutation (English Faculty) Middle English 13.00: The Innocents (Les perles innocentes) 16th-century French —13.30 BREAK— 14.00: The Passion (Sorores Sanctae Hildae) Latin and German 14.30: The Harrowing of Hell (Medieval Germanists) Middle High German 15.00: The Last Judgement (Past and Present Teddy Students) Modern English
Welcome to the third incarnation of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle! As in 2019 and 2022, this highlight of the Oxford medieval calendar offers a variety of plays in different medieval and modern languages, staged at several stations in the beautiful grounds of St Edmund Hall. Cycles of plays retelling stories from the Bible were a popular form of entertainment in the Middle Ages, which we are only too happy to revive for modern audiences. Admission is free and you are welcome to turn up at any time.
Read the original call for participation: Sign-up is now open for the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle! Just follow this link to propose a play and to join one of the highlights of the Oxford Medieval Studies calendar, which will be held on Saturday 22 April 2023 at St Edmund Hall.
Following a hugely popular medieval tradition, we are looking for groups to perform a series of short plays retelling stories from the Bible. We are keen to cover a wide variety of (medieval) languages, but you don’t have to be a theatre professional or even a medievalist – all you need is lots of enthusiasm for what is above all a fun and unique experience. In the last years, plays have included:
The Creation and Fall
The Killing of Abel
The Annunciation and Visitation
Herod the Great
John the Baptist
The Harrowing of Hell
The Last Judgement
Feel free to propose other plays, or even to write your own – as long as the topic is not already taken, so don’t wait too long! You can see which plays have already been proposed here.
We have previously had plays in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, but offers for plays in other languages, including Welsh, Dutch, Latin, or Hebrew are also very welcome! Some mystery plays are easily accessible online: this includes plays in Middle English (the York, Towneley, and N-Town plays), Old French (the Seinte Resurreccion), Middle High German (the Innsbrucker Osterspiel), or Old Spanish (the Auto de los Reyes Magos). And don’t worry if you don’t have enough actors or haven’t found a group yet: we can help you put out a call for actors and link you up with other people interested in participating. All you have to do is get in touch.
For inspiration, have a look at the mystery cycles of the last few years! You can even watch recordings of the cycles in 2019 and 2022 on YouTube. (Or, alternatively, you can watch the much more professional recordings of the 1985 National Theatre Mysteries.) A small budget is available for props and costumes.
We will hold a workshop on how to cut longer plays on Friday of Week 1 in Hilary Term at 3–5pm (20 January 2023) on site at St Edmund Hall. This is open both to fully fledged groups and aspiring directors. [Edit: This workshop has been postponed to Friday of Week 3 at 5–6.30pm (3 February 2023)]
We will hold a workshop on voice projection at the end of Hilary Term.
You will have the opportunity to rehearse on location at St Edmund Hall during Week 0 of Trinity Term.
Dress rehearsals will take place on the morning of Saturday of Week 0 of Trinity Term (22 April 2023).
The Mystery Cycle will be performed from 12–5pm on Saturday 22 April 2023, with two half-hour breaks for tea, coffee, and cake.
Cake sale: we are also looking for people to bake cake and help run a charity cake stall on the day – if you’re interested, please get in touch!