We cannot revisit the original performances of the York Mystery Cycle in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, either to see how the plays themselves were staged, or to interview the people who put them on or who watched them. We have, however, a considerable body of surviving evidence surrounding these vanished performances, their organisation, and their audiences. This ranges from financial accounts rendered by the pageant masters responsible for producing the plays to stained-glass windows showing similar scenes from the Bible; from the official script of the plays to City Council minutes regulating the performance; from the kind of devotional literature owned by York guildsmen and their wives to the City of York itself, where several of the original buildings along the pageant route still exist.
We see this as a giant ring doughnut. The centre – the
original performance – is missing. But the evidences surrounding it survive.
2. The project:
The Project intends to collect and hyperlink all these evidences, and make them available to
scholars and teachers of medieval theatre. They will be presented in two stages:
as an archive of high resolution scans, catalogued, indexed, and the text files transcribed;
as a series of hyperlinked packages on CD-ROM, with further more speculative
material (non-York images of
Doomsday and its components for comparison, video of re-creations, 3-D visualisations).