A UNIQUE part of Chester’s dramatic history will be broadcast to the world this Easter.

The Chester Mystery Plays will be streamed on YouTube on Good Friday for the first time in its 700-year history.

The live recordings of Act I and Act II of the 2018 cycle, directed by Peter Leslie Wild at Chester Cathedral, will be broadcast at 10.30am on Friday, April 10 and remain available online to view for eight weeks.

The production, watched by more than 7,000 people, was acclaimed by critics.

Many of the 150 community actors in the original production were due to take part in the Chester City Passion on Good Friday, a promenade performance throughout the city starting at 10.30am, but the event was cancelled in mid-March in light of social restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Peter said: “This broadcast is a wonderful opportunity for cast members, friends and the people of Chester especially to be reminded of happier times.

“Community theatre plays such an important role in people’s lives and in these days of social distancing and isolation many will be missing the friendship and companionship of projects like the Chester Mystery Plays and the Chester City Passion.”

The Chester Mystery Plays, which tell Bible stories including the Creation, Noah’s Ark, The Nativity and The Crucifixion, were first written in the 14th century and performed by the guildsmen of the city on wagons around the streets.

Since the modern revival of the plays in 1951, they have been performed in the city once every five years and the 2018 cycle was written by Deborah McAndrew and designed by Dawn Allsopp, with original music composed and directed by Matt Baker.

Deborah said: “These plays are an important part of the history of theatre; and scholars and theatre lovers from around the world travel to Chester when they are performed.

"As much of the globe is in some form of lockdown, this YouTube performance offers the opportunity to share with the rest of the world this unique part of Chester’s dramatic history.”

The recording was made by PH Production Services Ltd and will be found on the Chester Mystery Plays channel on YouTube.

Ian Sanderson, chairman of the Chester Mystery Plays Company Ltd, said: “I would like to thank the professional production team for agreeing to waive their rights to this production to allow us to stream it live on YouTube.

“The Chester Mystery Plays are a huge commitment for our community cast and we are delighted to be able to share their performance with a wider audience during this difficult time."