The Lincoln Mystery Plays return next year and for the first time in decades - if not ever - they are heading out on a county tour.
Fresh expressions and renewed purpose are at the heart of the revival of these ancient texts for 2020.
Staged in a uniquely new way, interpreted with visionary vigour, the long-established series of plays will be presented with striking relevance belying their medieval origins.
An impression of what’s to come next July and August will be presented at a launch event next week, where anyone wanting to know more, discover the plot and explore ways to get involved will be welcomed.
New director Tom Straszewski – bringing to Lincoln his enthusiasm, excellence and experience from artistic direction and regular involvement in the York Mystery Plays – will outline his exciting vision for 2020.
He will share his passion, inspiration and initiative in renewing a 600-year-old script with impact and power.
Through deep and forensic knowledge of mystery plays, their heritage and contemporary relevance, Tom will interpret them for a modern day audience.
By teasing out all of the hidden humour and humanity, presenting scenes and scenarios rarely aired and staging them in a manner never seen before, the show will be refreshing, relevant and performed with powerful immediacy.
Tom said: “The N-Town text used at Lincoln is deeply concerned with truth-telling and shaping stories.
“This speaks loudly at a time when truth feels unstable, politicians lie for power, and everybody has their own story to tell.
“This concept will guide the 2020 production, creating an ensemble who come together to tell their stories.
“While Mary sticks to the truth in the face of injustice, the mighty lie to maintain their power. Others often miss the grander scheme.
“Ultimately the Mystery Plays are all about truth, lies and power and our personal relationship with that.”
Tom’s passion is in drawing out the intimate moments within the grand sweep of a story, starting with Creation and running through to Judgement Day.
Tom continued: “I want this to be a celebration of storytelling – a community gathering in the warmth of summer to share their food and their stories.”
For the first time, the plays will tour on a kind of pilgrimage of their own; taking in Louth, Heckington, Horncastle and Gainsborough on the road to six nights in Lincoln Cathedral: twelve nights in all, including a signed performance for those with hearing impairment on the last night, August 1.
Tour performances will be: • Louth - St James Church - Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18, 7.30pm
•Heckington - St Andrews Church - Tuesday July 21, 7.30pm
• Horncastle - St Mary’s Church – Wednesday July 22, 7.30pm
• Gainsborough Old Hall - Thursday July 23 and Friday July 24, 7.30pm
• Lincoln Cathedral - Monday July 27 to Saturday August 1 7.30pm
With traditional music, folk dance and local performers specific to each location at the heart of the production, Tom is keen to draw on the wider creative energy of Lincoln and Lincolnshire.
As such the door is open to all creative and craftspeople who could inspire, scope, design and execute any part of such a collaborative show.
Tom added: “Through community theatre, we not only tell stories that are important to us, but build friendships, skills and memories that endure long after the final bow.
“My vision is to honour the Medieval predecessors who found the same inspiration in the Mystery Plays.”
The launch event will be held next Thursday, September 26, at the cafe at The Lawns in Lincoln from 8pm to 10pm.
To understand more of Tom’s 2020 vision, be inspired and explore how you can collaborate in this exciting project, drop in to the launch, check out the website at www.lincolnmysteries.co.uk visit @lincolnmysteries on Facebook or @mysteryplays on Twitter.