What does The Coventry Mysteries Company do?
- Facilitate partnerships between professional artists / arts organisations and amateur/community groups
- Support performance projects, working in the medium of one or more of: film & digital media, dance, drama, music, poetry/spoken word, art installation
- Encourage participants and audiences to engage with social issues, through an annual theme (2012 being ‘Peace and Reconciliation’)
What are the unique aims of the Mysteries Week Festival?
- To transform urban spaces
- To provide opportunities (either free of charge or low cost) for citizens and visitors to perceive spaces and community relations in different ways
What are the medieval Mystery Plays?
Throughout the medieval period the Coventry Guilds of tradesmen (such as carpenters, bakers, shoe-makers) proudly performed their own unique Mystery Plays.
The word “mystery” means a trade or craft in medieval English. Mystery is also a religious truth or rite.
In a city-wide festival of drama and spectacle the plays retold the Christian story from Creation to Doomsday but for popular entertainment as well as instruction.
What happened in Coventry?
No fewer than four Kings of England visited Coventry to witness the spectacle of these pageants at Corpus Christi, a feast day, usually in June.
Unlike the Mystery plays of York or Chester, little text has survived from the Coventry plays, although the Coventry Carol is a significant and popular fragment. However, the City of Coventry and its cathedral remains a place of particular pilgrimage since its destruction and recreation in the mid-twentieth century.
The New Coventry Mysteries
The city of Coventry promotes the values of Peace and Reconciliation, and is undergoing regeneration in its many communities. This makes Coventry a significant centre for the exploration of morality, of social issues and human behaviour. One of the ways to do this is through the performing arts, as it was in medieval times.
The old Mystery Plays told the story of Christianity; the new Coventry Mysteries has the potential to tell the story of mankind’s search for meaning from everyone’s viewpoint.
We share a belief that the arts and celebration can bring people together across cultures, generations and different social and working backgrounds in ways that are truly inclusive and inspiring.