Our mission is to transform the city landscape and create an ambitious programme of events offering artistic encounters and experiences that encourage people to take pride in their city, to rally around the big questions of life, to understand more about each other, and to create and reveal new stories of wonder in Coventry today.
From 1392 – 1578, Coventry’s medieval Mystery Plays were proudly performed in a city-wide festival of drama and spectacle by its guilds of tradesmen. The plays retold, for entertainment and instruction, the Christian story from Creation to Doomsday.
The Mystery Plays were seen by the Kings and Queens of England, by Coventry’s citizens and by people from the surrounding area. They were one of the largest festivals in the UK of their time – and a source of great civic pride.
Unlike York and Chester, little remains of Coventry’s Mystery Plays – the Coventry Carol being the notable exception.
The ‘modern’ Mysteries started in 2010 as a new festival for Coventry – but with old roots. Our festival draws on the city’s tradition of performance and the guiding principles of the Guilds that created the medieval plays: invention, unity, mutual understanding and the respect of difference. These principles offer both a cultural continuity with the city’s past, but also a blueprint for social and cultural exchange.
In a multi-faith, multi-cultural society the ‘modern’ Mysteries looks to explore our common values and our place within the community. Rather than reflect on the world through one faith, it looks to our commonalities - the shared mores and values that affect and define us all.