Chester’s Mysterious Music Making

Posted on October 26, 2011

At the beginning of October, Chester residents old and young came together to work with musicians from Manchester Camerata to create their own performance inspired by an original Chester Mystery Play, Noye’s Flood

The project – which took place on 1 and 2 October 2011 – saw Manchester Camerata working in partnership with Chester Mystery Plays as part of the Heritage Lottery funded Sharing the Mystery project.

It brought together Chester residents of all ages to create a brand new musical play which took its inspiration from the themes of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood).

Mystery Plays are part of musical and theatrical heritage of Chester – telling Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments which, in turn, echo stories from other world religions.

30 people collaborated with a professional composer/musical director, Andy Smith, dramatist Anna Jewitt, and Manchester Camerata musicians flautist Amina Hussain, violinist Helen Brackley-Jones and percussionist Janet Fulton to create their own local Mystery. 

Anna Jewitt said it was a true collaboration. “The participants came up with all the ideas and were keen to develop a piece that showed how fragmented communities can come together through small acts of kindness and generosity.”

Katherine Hopwood took part in the project with husband Bruce and their twin sons. “It’s great to do music and drama as a family, and to have fun at the same time. Peter and Alasdair really threw themselves into it.”

Camerata’s head of learning and participation, Nick Ponsillo, said the project was perfect for engaging families and introducing younger people especially to music and music making.

“There was a real mix of ages and abilities – some had never done anything like this before – but everyone brought something very special to the project.”


Read more about the project in the Chester Chronicle

Discover more about Manchester Camerata’s Learning work

Read about the Heritage Lottery Fund