Bergh Apton and neighbouring villages revive centuries-old mystery play tradition
PUBLISHED: 17:37 05 June 2014
A group of villages near Norwich have been reviving the centuries-old tradition of mystery plays, and this weekend is the final chance for people to see the production.
Twelve neighbouring villages and local schools are involved in the Bergh Apton Community Arts Trust Mystery Play Cycle which is being performed on Sunday.
The project - which features four plays - follows on from the success of host village Bergh Apton’s sculpture trails which have taken place since 1997.
Storyteller Hugh Lupton and community drama director David Farmer are at the helm of the 2014 project which is inspired by the origins of the Mystery Play cycle performed by local tradesmen in the 15th century.
Mr Farmer said: “This project is a fantastic opportunity to work on modern versions of plays that would have been performed by ordinary people in towns and villages up to 800 years ago.”
Mr Lupton added: “The Mystery Plays were part of Norfolk’s cultural life during the Middle Ages. The original plays have been lost and forgotten. It has been thrilling to reconstruct a contemporary cycle of Mystery Plays and watch a Norfolk community
breathe fresh life into them.”
Author Louis de Bernières, who is a patron of the project along with The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, and Susie Fowler-Watt, described the production as an “unmissable treat.”
He said: “Bergh Apton has a tradition of punching a long way above its weight when it comes to the arts. Now they have revived a medieval dramatic form, and involved their whole community in it.”
The villages taking part in the mystery play cycle, which was also performed on May 24 and June 1, are Alpington and Yelverton, Ashby St Mary, Bergh Apton, Bramerton, Carleton St Peter, Claxton, Framingham Pigot, Hellington, Kirby Bedon, Rockland St Mary, Surlingham, and Thurton.
The event has gained funding through the Arts Council England, South Norfolk Council, The Geoffrey Watling Charity and several other charities.
• Sunday’s performance, which takes place in and around Bergh Apton, runs from 1.30pm until 6pm. Tickets £15 (£7.50 for under 16s). To book tickets visit www.berghapton.org.uk or call 01508 480696.
• For more information visit www.facebook.com/berghaptonmysteryplays or follow @BerghApton on Twitter.