The York Play of Corpus Christi, also known as the York Cycle, has been central to the study of early English theatre for over a century and a touchstone for the revival of medieval dramatic practice for over fifty years. But these two endeavours... have often found little common ground. This volume therefore accomplishes something very important. It brings together scholars of medieval English drama and places them in dialogue with experienced practtitioners from the community. Together, they share a common commitment to understanding how performances matter to the communities that produce them, and how plays intersect with other public activities. CAROL SYMES, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana.
This volume provides a wealth of new insights into the performance of mystery plays in medieval York and their modern revival. It utilises both academic study, and the practical experience of those who now produce the cycle within York itself on wagons in the street, in an approximation of their original performance. A number of topics are covered. The manuscript is linked to Richard III; the Masons are introduced as non-guildsmen in an enterprise assumed to be guild-specific; families, not just male heads of households, are shown to be important to the dramatic narrative; and cognitive theory elucidates performance past and present. Recent productions are discussed in lively detail by those directly responsible for them, leading to analyses of performances in Israel, Spain, and Australia, not all of them of a predictable kind, which offer further angles on the medieval dramatic tradition.
Professor Margaret Rogerson teaches in the Department of English at the University of Sydney.
Contributors: Margaret Rogerson, Keith Jones, Richard Beadle, Sheila K. Christie, Mike Tyler, Jill Stevenson, Elenid Davies, Ben Pugh, Peter Brown, Tony Wright, Steve Bielby, Emma Cunningham, Alan Heaven, Linda Ali, Paul Toy, Gweno Williams, John Merrylees, David Richmond, Alexandra F. Johnston, Sharon Aronson-Lehavi, Pamela M. King
A fascinating book[...]for historians, or indeed anyone, wanting to get under the skin of the York Plays, this volume provides not only an ideal introduction but a springboard for further thought and research, both practical and academic. HISTORY
Furnishes valuable material for scholars, for modern producers and for spectators, whether in making the plays comprehensible for today, or in restating their original message of devotion as well as entertainment. NORTHERN HISTORY
This collection is well conceived, well edited, and generously illustrated. It is kind to its reader in having footnotes on the page, a good bibliography, index, and a glossary of Middle English words. It contains excellent academic papers and thoughtful, instructive reports from practitioners. It does all it set out to do and more. STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER
The volume is beautifully produced, with twenty-four black and white photographs and two line illustrations, a bibliography and index. The entire collection is stimulating and provocative. For students new to the early drama and to theatre history I recommend especially Rogerson's introduction and Tyler's chapter on The Flood'
s medieval contexts and guild responsibilities for its performance. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
Many of the contributions prove that exchanges between the academic and theatrical community can be extremely fruitful and that questions about medieval performance, reception and interpretation can be explored through theatrical experiment and participation as well as through traditional academic research. MARGINALIA