Diamond anniversary celebration for Chester Mystery Plays

PUBLISHED: 13:04 05 April 2013 | UPDATED: 21:26 05 April 2013

Guests Councillor Margaret Parker, Councillor Mike Jones, Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester Councillor Jill Houlbrook, Inger Trevor-Barnston, Rachel Walker,  Councillor Stuart Parker and Jo Sykes

Guests Councillor Margaret Parker, Councillor Mike Jones, Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester Councillor Jill Houlbrook, Inger Trevor-Barnston, Rachel Walker, Councillor Stuart Parker and Jo Sykes

A gala celebration to mark the diamond anniversary of the modern revival of the Chester Mystery Plays took place at the University of Chester.

A gala celebration to mark the diamond anniversary of the modern revival of the Chester Mystery Plays took place on Friday, March 22 at the University of Chester.

The fundraising dinner was held in Whites Dining Rooms at the university and was organised by Mrs Inger Trevor-Barnston, a director of the Chester Mystery Plays Company. The four-course meal was prepared and served by the University of Chesters award-winning catering team.

Chairman of the Chester Mystery Plays Jo Sykes and fellow board member Nicholas Fry, who is also playing God in the summer production, delivered a light hearted introduction to the plays. The original 25 plays, which tell the Bible stories, were written by Benedictine monks of the Abbey of St Werburgh (now Chester Cathedral) in the 14th century.

Canon Peter Howell-Jones, vice-dean of Chester Cathedral, where the plays will be performed, said grace, Michael Trevor-Barnston proposed the loyal toast and Inger Trevor-Barnston thanked the caterers and team of helpers.

Guests included: University of Chester vice-chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler and Mrs Marilyn Wheeler; vice-dean of Chester Cathedral Canon Peter Howell-Jones and Mrs Sian Howell-Jones; the leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council Cllr Mike Jones and Mrs Suzanne Jones; Cllr Stuart Parker(portfolio holder for culture); Cllr Margaret Parker(CWaC representative on the Chester Mystery Plays board); Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Jill Houlbrook; Mr David Pickering (a vice-president of the Chester Mystery Plays) and Mrs Sue Pickering; Mr Neville Chamberlain (Cheshire Business Leaders) and Mrs Joy Chamberlain.

Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Nicholas Fry and entertainment was provided by table magician Simon Southerin and A Handbag of Harmonies choir, led by Matt Baker, who has composed the music for the 2013 production. Director Peter Leslie Wild and writer Stephanie Dale joined proceedings after the dinner, following a rehearsal at St Marys Centre. There was a raffle which included six hampers, each worth more than 100, and tickets for Ladies Day at Chester Racecourse donated by the Chester Race Company.

Jo Sykes said: It was a wonderfully relaxed evening and we really felt that we were among friends as so many of the people there were indeed Friends of the Chester Mystery Plays! The snow added to the drama of the evening although sadly it did prevent about six people from attending. We are hoping to have raised somewhere in the region of between 3,000 and 4,000 which is a very successful outcome as we are still in need of as much financial support as can be achieved.

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