Mystery Plays have their origins in the tenth century when monks and clergy enacted key biblical extracts in order to educate and inform their largely illiterate congregations. Later, this kind of theatre was adopted by the medieval guilds as an early form of community drama and the productions were extended to include a huge range of Bible stories from the Creation to Doomsday. Lincoln’s plays, like those of York, Chester, Coventry, Litchfield and Wakefield were “lost” and largely forgotten from the Reformation onwards. However, beginning with the revival of the York plays after World War II, productions of mystery plays have been regularly staged in cathedral cities throughout the country. The Lincoln Mystery Plays, based on the medieval N-Town cycle, were revived through the Theatre Royal in 1969 and then have been performed at roughly four-year intervals since the founding of our Mystery Plays Company in 1978. The photographic archive offers a rich source of visual material about our previous performances, both of the Mysteries and other plays.
The Lincoln Mystery Plays are a registered charity and are overseen by a Board of Directors. The current Board are chaired by Denise Christison. The other Board members are Jason Hippersley, Katie Greathead, Rebecca Longbottom, Chris Matthews, Kevin Gillingham & Ba Wheeler.
It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome you to The Lincoln Mystery Plays website, which I hope you will find interesting, informative and entertaining. The website is our main channel of communication to our hundreds of supporters and members across the country. It is also our first point of contact with our regular visitors from other parts of the World. The Lincoln Mystery Plays Trust are confident that, in the year ahead, the site will grow into a vibrant and interactive resource which people will want to visit regularly, in order to receive up-to-the-minute news about our events and performances. We also hope that new visitors will feel able to make contact with The Trust about any issues relating to the plays.
We want the site to become a living archive of knowledge and scholarship, exploring the contribution that the plays bring to the social, cultural and artistic dimensions of a community. The Lincoln Mystery Plays, also known as The N Town Cycle, have become an integral part of Lincolnshire’s cultural heritage, but we are also keen to receive evidence of productions in other communities. It would be exciting if such evidence could come from you, our visitors, in terms of your knowledge, memories or experiences of the plays outside Lincoln.
I hope that you enjoy our heritage, either as an introduction to the plays or as a point of contact for further research. Please get in touch with any queries you might have.
Denise Christison, LMP Chair.
The Company is administered by the Lincoln Mystery Plays Trust Ltd which is both a Limited Company (no: 02775551) and a Registered Charity (no: 1016184) and we therefore report annually to Companies House and to the Charity Commission. We have Articles of Association and a Memorandum of Association as our governing documents.
The Trust’s activities are overseen by a Board whose members are both Directors of the Company and Trustees of the Charity.