Mystery and Mud


You may remember that I mentioned taking on a workroom supervisor job for the York Mystery Plays- well, that is where I have been and below is a tiniest snippet of what we have been doing.

These are a cycle of  plays telling  the Bible story, start to finish, and this year are held in the nave of York Minster. Basically this means they are big, in all ways. Traditionally they are put on by local guilds for the local people. These are a bit too big for that but most of the cast are locals as are the people running about behind the scenes making and doing. I have been  one of the people  translating and organising  the designs and intentions of the decision makers into tasks and actions for the volunteer costume makers. Not going to give you sneak peaks of the finished  stuff  or write about the “Biblical Basics” ,  of which there were dozens to make, many sagas to tell and the word “gusset” has new emphasis,    but….   meet Adam and Eve.

Janet's dungeon ( defunct back kitchens)

Janet’s dungeon ( defunct back kitchens)


These were somewhat different from  the floor to ceiling robes – body suits which had to be made to look like they were emerging from the clay.  Janet ( the theatrical breakdown specialist) trusted us to get the base grime and grub in place, ready to start building a heavily  caked and encrusted top layer.   These are not finished yet, more Yorkshire clag and clarting up is required but you should get the idea.

A very naked Adam, waiting his turn

A very naked Adam, waiting his turn






Eve is a little more advanced than Adam, proper crusty mud is going on.

Eve is a little more advanced than Adam, proper crusty mud is going on.




The grub was  various colouring agents in textile binder, then plus some extras – wool fibre, puffer binder, polyfilla, etc, etc.

early layers

early layers

The heavier layers  were stippled , slapped, dribbled on,  as well as being elegantly placed, and carefully applied. It is the drying time that is the killer. Everything is overnight!




Janet is working minor and major miracles here! From flat nasty synthetic bodysuit to this  organic masterpiece….P1050484













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