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Dame Judi speaks up for Mystery Plays

Dame Judi Dench has thrown her passionate support behind an Evening Press campaign to save York’s world-famous Mystery Plays.

The city’s Oscar-winning daughter was involved in the first three productions in York’s Museum Gardens in the 1950s, performing as the Virgin Mary (below) in 1957 before going on to a glittering career in theatre, film and TV.

Now she has told the Press that she feels “very strongly indeed” about the news that the major staged production of the Plays may not take place again until at least 2010.

And she has spoken of their importance in attracting tourists to York from all over the globe.

She wrote: “Where ever I have been in the world, I have been astonished by the number of people who have told me that they have seen the Plays, and the enthusiasm for the York Cycle is phenomenal.

“I feel passionate that the Mystery Plays should continue in the tradition of being staged every four years, and I totally support your efforts to achieve this.”

Her comments come only a week after the creation of a new York Mystery Plays Association, kick-started by the Evening Press, whose aim is to ensure the Plays are performed again in the Museum Gardens, possibly in 2005.

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