Royalty meets God as princess tours the set of the York Minster Mystery Plays

Pilate (Philip Massey) greets the princess. Photograph: Richard McDougall
9 Jun 2016 @ 5.43 pm
| News

Pilate (Philip Massey) greets the princess. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Pilate (Philip Massey) greets the princess. Photograph: Richard McDougall
What’s the protocol when a member of the royal family meets a deity? Princess Beatrice met God in York Minster on Thursday (June 9) as part of her visit to the Mystery Plays.

God, played by Ian Small, was one of the cast members to be introduced to the princess, along with Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe (Dame Percula); Philip Massey (Pilate), Carla Woodcock (Daughter-in-law 1; Youth Chorus) and Marcus Richardson (Herod Antipas; Devil; Shepherd).

She also met a small group of boys and girls representing the York Minster Choir – all of the choristers sing in the production.

York Minster Mystery Plays

Thu May 26-Thu June 30

£40-£25, matinees from £15

Mystery Plays website

Later the princess, whose father Prince Andrew is the production’s patron, met Beckie May whose props team created the extraordinary animal menagerie for Noah’s Ark.

Talking to stage manager John Pemberton. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Talking to stage manager John Pemberton. Photograph: Richard McDougall

For stage manager John Pemberton, this was not the first time meeting royalty, after having previously worked on a production of Les Misérables for the Queen in Windsor.

John said that it royal visits to stage productions are “always special” as “there is still a lot of admiration for the royal family”. He said everyone in attendance was excited to see her.

Princess Beatrice is show the set in the Minster's Nave by Mystery Plays producer Nicola Corp. Photograph: Anthony Chappel-Ross
Princess Beatrice is show the set in the Minster’s Nave by Mystery Plays producer Nicola Corp. Photograph: Anthony Chappel-Ross
Sharing a lighter moment. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Sharing a lighter moment. Photograph: Richard McDougall

The actors were delighted to meet the princess and speak to her individually. The two youngest actors to meet her were Marcus Richardson and Carla Woodcock, who are both current drama students at York College.

Princess Beatrice asked the students about managing their school work alongside acting in such a demanding set of plays.

Talking to the cast… Photograph: Richard McDougall
Talking to the cast… Photograph: Richard McDougall

As a former A-Level student of drama herself and patron of York Theatre she is keen to watch the production, telling the two young actors that she “wanted to see the play” if possible.

Herod (Marcus Richardson) looks on from the end of the line
Herod (Marcus Richardson) looks on from the end of the line

The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, said:

It was wonderful to share the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of the Mystery Plays production with Princess Beatrice.

The Minster is very much at the centre of the production but the superhuman effort involved in getting the plays on stage involves individuals, communities and businesses in York and beyond.

The critical acclaim for the production is a tribute to the spirit of our wonderful community.

On the stage
On the stage
Armed with a goodie bag the princess leaves the Minster with the Dean of York the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull
Armed with a goodie bag the princess leaves the Minster with the Dean of York the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull