Pioneering Theatre, Music and Community Arts
In Wolverhampton from 1980 to 2013
Zip Theatre gratefully
Matrix Standard for
Advice & Guidance
The Wolverhampton Mystery Cycle -
Being part of the Community
We were really lucky to have so many members of Wolverhampton's community in the Mystery Cycle who brought many different skills and abilities to the performance.
From the beginning, our idea was to create pictures of scenes on stage, using movement rather than specific dance.
So we decided which parts of the script we wanted to put movement in and which pieces were dialogue only, and then we set about experimenting with the cast.
The music, which was written especially for the production, had an epic feel to it and therefore I wanted the movement pieces to be epic too.
The bible stories, such as the creation of the world and Noah and the Ark are great stories which fire the imagination and I wanted the movement pieces to do just that.
Stories like Cain being tempted by Satan to kill his brother Abel, can also be evocatively portrayed through dance.
For the Mystery Cycle in 2004, Alex Jones played Cain as well as Judas. Colin Dixon played Abel as well as Jesus. Thus the killing of Abel by Cain, foreshadows the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.
Because of all the different ages and abilities I wanted the choreography pieces to be enjoyable and fairly easy to learn, after all the cast ranged in age from 9 to 79!
One of the main movement pieces was`The Creation'. We decided not to use props in this because the idea of using bodies only would be more interesting visually, especially as we had a cast of over two hundred people.
We depicted the flow of the oceans, the growth of plants and trees, and all the animals. It was amazing how a group of people came together over the rehearsal weeks and managed to create a spectacular series of movement pieces which highlighted and supported the dialogue of the scenes.
One of the biggest challenges was how to create the story of Noah and the Ark without water and without real animals. I didn't know where to start, but now I am delighted that the desired effect was achieved.
The amateur cast, who grew in confidence and ability during the rehearsal period, made their own invaluable contribution to ensure that the Mystery Cycle contained some thrilling moments of dance. by Jenni Burke