Bringing to life the Mystery’s Plays creatures

Volunteer Joanna Jefferies with some of the sheep being made at St Williams College  for Noah's Ark in the York Mystery Plays
Volunteer Joanna Jefferies with some of the sheep being made at St Williams College for Noah's Ark in the York Mystery Plays
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THEY are the props that will bring centuries-old stories to life.

A talented team of professional prop makers, supported by more than 30 volunteers and students, have been busy creating more than 100 animals that will be used in the Noah’s Ark and Creation scenes in this summer’s York Mystery Plays.

Designer  Max Jones looking at a model of how York Minster will be transformed for the plays

Designer Max Jones looking at a model of how York Minster will be transformed for the plays

Led by prop supervisor Beckie May, the team have until the beginning of next month to complete animals ranging from flamingos and elephants to dodos, beavers and fish alongside sea creatures, birds and a whale for the Creation.

The team also need to create around 48 wings, 50 halos, a mask, the crown of thorns, mangers and backpacks to enable the creatures to be worn by the actors.

Materials for the elaborate creations have been sourced from across Yorkshire, and include wood for staffs and walking sticks from a tree surgeon in Scarborough and real wool fleeces from a flock of pedigree Hebridean sheep grazing in Pickering, donated by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

This year’s production will see the Mystery Plays, which date back to Medieval times, staged in York Minster for the first time in 16 years.

Volunteer Jenny Geddes tries out Gertrude the giraffe, who will be  in Noah's Ark for the York Mystery Plays.

Volunteer Jenny Geddes tries out Gertrude the giraffe, who will be in Noah's Ark for the York Mystery Plays.

Producer Nicola Corp said: “It’s fabulous to see the creatures really being brought to life in the workshop. It’s a Yorkshire-wide community effort to bring these epic plays to fruition this summer with volunteers from throughout the region featuring in the cast and busy working behind the scenes on everything from creating props to make-up and costume creation. This hard work will all come together with a spectacular show within the dramatic setting of the Minster.”

Tickets are already on sale at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 623568.