Modern takes on medieval plays

An audience in Lichfield will be the first to see some modern takes on the Lichfield Mysteries plays. Senior schools and the College in Lichfield have taken over the plays and will perform a selection of plays from the cycle at the first Lichfield Mysteries Festival on Saturday, February 9.

Cast members as building site workers in one of the scenes from Adam and Eve.

Students from Lichfield Cathedral School, The Friary, King Edward VI, Nether Stowe and South Staffordshire College will take part in the non-competitive event. Arranged by the Trustees of Lichfield Mysteries Community Arts, the Festival will also feature a production by Adolf Reichwein Schule Theatre Group, from Lichfield’s twin town of Limburg an der Lahn.

Lichfield Cathedral School will present Adam and Eve and The Burial and students have been working with Head of Drama Beverley Dunne on new interpretations of the original scripts.

Mrs Dunne said: “We have taken Adam and Eve and looked at it to see what is relevant about this story for an audience in 2019. The Bible stories are timeless, their themes are transient. We just have to find new ways to interpret and make them feel real and recognisable to what is happening in the world today.”

The play will be performed as a comedy, set on a building site with God as the Gaffer. “As the builders act out the story, a much darker twist takes place as Lucifer is personified as two violent and brutalised gang members who force Adam and Eve to take drink. The story is sharply brought into a contemporary focus as we see similarities with the sinister grooming of young people to traffic drugs,” says Dunne.

Students from the Cathedral School in a scene from The Burial

In The Burial, the students have explored the concept of the body of Jesus being played by the whole cast.

Students from all schools have been working hard over the last few weeks to present both traditional and more modern interpretations of the plays. There will be three adjudicators at the Festival – Elle Knight B.Ed LLAM FLAM, Malcolm Flanagan CBE, and author & director Peter Sidgwick, who will provide written adjudications for each production.

The Festival will be held in the theatre of The Friary School, Eastern Avenue, Lichfield, on Saturday February 9 at 2pm.

Tickets are £3 – the money being divided between the participating schools and College – available from the Samuel Johnson Birthplace, Breadmarket Street, Lichfield.

Photos by Jono’s Tourism