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Passion play : staging York's The conspiracy and Christ before Annas and Caiphas

Crispin, Philip


Philip Crispin


In March 2013, I directed two Passion Pageants from the York Mysteries – The Conspiracy and Christ before Annas and Caiaphas (hereafter Conspiracy and Annas and Caiaphas). Each of them is both sacred and profane, devotional and political, providing an arena for social contestation. I analyse the two pageants through the prism of festive drama and play: the ludic interrogation of society, power and violence in both word and ritual. My interdisciplinary approach ranges from the carnivalesque and anthropology to Christian hermeneutics and art history; and I examine key discourses, rituals and plot developments nourished by both religious and secular sources. 1 I proceed to apply the performance theories of Jerzy Grotowski and Jacques Lecoq, two twentieth century theatre-makers, to the pageants; their thoughts and observations (alongside Walter Benjamin’s theory of history and anachronism), complement medieval theatre scholarship and how to approach the performance of this drama, in terms of theatricality, performance practice and acting styles. Informed by all the above, I discuss how I approached my own production in terms of staging, performance and interpretation.


Crispin, P. (2016). Passion play : staging York's The conspiracy and Christ before Annas and Caiphas. In Staging scripture (279-308). Brill Academic Publishers.

Publication Date May 4, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 11, 2016
Journal Staging scripture
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume XIV
Pages 279-308
Series Title Ludus
Book Title Staging scripture
ISBN 9789004313958
Keywords Passion, Performance, Play, Ritual, Anachronism, Carnivalesque
Public URL
Publisher URL Full details of the published book are available at