Rooted in history but branching out in new directions, the Lincoln Mystery Plays return with a fresh production this summer.

As well as taking up a new space at their spiritual home, Lincoln Cathedral, over six nights in the last week of July, for a first-time they’re reaching out across the county, heading to Louth, Horncastle, Sleaford and Gainsborough in the first week of August.

With links to Medieval tradition, this occasional revival of a historical theatrical experience is a much-anticipated highlight of the county’s arts calendar, drawing audiences from around the world. And after a pandemic-enforced delay, it’s poised to bounce back, full of energy and life.

Taking you on a journey from Creation through to Redemption, the historic telling of familiar Bible episodes has a striking resonance with circumstances today as it explores truth, lies and power and ultimately what it means to be human.

Mystery Plays have their origins in the 13th century when they were presented primarily as a mechanism to unravel and inform the largely-illiterate masses of the nuances of faith. Just like the Cathedral’s Romanesque Frieze, Mystery Plays were devised as a colourful, visual, sometimes-comic and easily-understood portrayal of Bible stories and moral teachings. Localities would have their own scripts and local variations on a theme.

This revival of this ancient genre – a 14th outing in the modern era and re-scripted for 2022 by director Tom Straszewski who is associated with the York Mystery Plays too – maintains the best of the Mystery Plays’ traditions, balancing playful humour and poignant sincerity in a way that has the power to be life-affirming and life-changing.

Presented by a community of local actors under professional direction, the totality of the 11-date tour combines the delights of open-air performance at the Cathedral’s new Dean’s Green garden and the spectacular settings of some of the county’s most striking churches in the continuation of centuries-old custom.

The Lincoln performances are outdoors at 7.30pm nightly from July 25 to 30, with a British Sign Language-signed show on July 30. Audiences are required to bring their own seating, to pick their own vantage point, and advised to consider warm clothing.

The Lincolnshire tour takes in St Mary’s Church Horncastle on August 2, St Deny’s Church Sleaford on August 3, St James’ Church Louth on August 4 and All Saints Church Gainsborough on August 5 & 6.

All tickets (£12 and £15) on sale now at www.lincolnmysteries.co.uk

Click to book tickets

There are currently two cabinets in the Cathedral’s exhibition space focused on aspects of the Lincoln Mystery Plays since their re-introduction through a Cathedral production in 1969.