Film ID:
YFA 5846



Visitor Tabs


This is a film which shows some of the events of the 1963 York Festival, including parts of the York Mystery Plays performed on wagons, festival performances at the Castle Museum, and an event in the Museum Gardens.

The film begins showing a large printing machine printing tickets for the York Festival, shown from various angles.  There is a short break and the film returns at Micklegate Bar and a view of the Minster seen from the city walls.  Then, in St Helen’s Square, a group of policeman stand looking though a brochure before a procession of women emerge from Mansion House.  The women are followed by the Mayor and other dignitaries who are wearing gowns and other regalia.  They make their way along Stonegate to York Minster where other cameramen are waiting.  The Archbishop of York, Donald Coggan, arrives.  There are images of the Minster, and then they leave the Minster in procession, making an archway for the Archbishop. 

There is a billboard advertising the Mystery Plays in the Museum Gardens and a recital in the Guildhall.  A finger points to one particular event, ‘A Pageant Play in the Streets’.   A horse pulled cart makes its way along Low Petergate accompanied by actors in historic costume.  It stops in front of ‘H S Wroe’ chemist on Colliergate in King’s Square.  To a watching crowd, including many children, the actors put on a performance of the biblical story of Jacob who is about to kill his son Isaac (the Akedah).  At the end they take a bow, hitch up the horse, and set off again.

The Mayor arrives at the Castle Museum, followed by a woman in pink brought in a horse drawn carriage.  She is greeted by four gentlemen dressed in Edwardian costume, holding tankards, and singing.  Inside the museum there is a musical performance being put on by children.  Then, on the lawn outside the museum, children and adults in Georgian costume perform country dancing, including the actor David Bradley.  The woman in purple is pulled around the lawn in a cart by a group of boys in historic costume.  She then performs a ballet routine with a minstrel, followed by more adult country dancing.

The last section of the film includes quad scull boating races on the River Ouse near Rowntree Park.  In the Museum Gardens there is a scouting event, with children in fancy dress and scouts cooking sausages on an open fire.  There is entertainment with games for the family.  Elsewhere a traditional jazz band plays near the Minster, next to a poster advertising a fancy dress ball.  They are joined by some women dancing, filmed in slow motion, and then sunning themselves as the film comes to an end.