Religious, artisitic, economic, and political aspects of the York Corpus Christi Plays

From an article I published in 1997, back when I thought I was pretty hot stuff to include postage-stamp-sized video clips on a website. The website also featured a Java simulation of the outdoor pageant that celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi (which is today).


The outdoor theatrical event in the medieval city of York, England, known
to its performers and audiences as the “Corpus Christi Play,” is a collection
of brief religious plays that together represent the story of Christian
salvation. The York cycle is one of four that have survived in more or
less complete form. The others are known as Chester, Wakefield, (after
the cities where they were performed) and N-Town (now identified with no
known city, but formerly identified as Townley). The York cycle was performed
nearly every year, on the feast
of Corpus Christi
(Latin for the Body of Christ). The plays were already
an established tradition in the late 14th century, and they continued in
one form or other (weakened by Protestant censorship) until the mid-to-late
16th century.