York Mystery Plays Costume Collection Call

With a community cast of 600 actors, the York Mystery Plays 2012 is, by a long stretch, the largest production Riding Lights has ever been involved in.

As well as arranging a rehearsal schedule for such a large cast, one of the biggest challenges is finding costumes for that many people. Therefore the Mystery Plays’ design team have put out a call for costume donations.

The setting the team have chosen for the plays matches the era when they were first revived – the Festival of Britain in the 1950s. So specifically we’re looking for donations of any original clothing ranging from First World War uniforms to 1950s dresses and anything in-between. (Take a look at the photo on the right to see some of the Mystery Play team modelling example costumes).

Not an era you automatically associate with the Mystery Plays,  Paul Burbridge (co-director for the production) explained the rational behind the 20th century costuming: “This year we’re looking for a way to make the plays have a contemporary feel. The idea of the city of York telling the story now. Without the plays being absolutely up to date. The era in which the plays are being styled, will engender a sense of austerity and hope that was present in post-war Britain”.

Can you help?

Donations will make an enormous difference to the project.

Anna Gooch, Costume designer said: “Even if items are in need of repair or are stained, we’re interested! The eras of rationing and making-do and mending are particularly interesting to us. Men’s suits, women’s tea dresses, hats, gloves, handbags. Army, Navy, RAF uniforms… think Dad’s Army, Vera Drake or The Bicycle Thieves. If you’re not sure if it’s right – bring it along anyway!”

Clothes can be dropped off on the 3rd of March at York Theatre Royal as well as other theatres across the region including; The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond; Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate; Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough and the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

Joining us for Members Day?

If you have any costumes you’d like to donate, then you can always bring them along to Members Day on the 25th February and drop them off at Friargate Theatre then. (More info on members day here…)