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Posts tagged ‘event organisers’

Celebrating Disruption – Article from the Mystery Plays Programme

First published in the York Mystery Plays 2014 programme…
‘For too long we’ve been too apologetic’ … This was the frame of mind I was in when we started planning our route through the city and the playing stations for the 2014 Mystery Plays.

In my early years as event producer I was often approached to ‘help make things happen’, this request came often from projects facing objections, and in a position of limited resources and with complications that meant i had to carefully balance the needs and aspirations of the project with the potential impact on the location and the (often reluctant) stakeholders involved.

Now that i’m a lot older and a little bit wiser I find myself becoming a little bit more ‘bullish’ about the importance of certain projects balanced against the minor disruptions that they cause – in some cases, like the Mystery Plays, I even feel that perhaps we should be celebrating that ‘disruption’.

York mystery plays come in many formats, they are not ‘owned’ by anybody but by the same measure are owned by everybody.

In 2012 a new large-scale staging of the plays took place in the modern tradition and context in the museum gardens. That concentration of activity and the scale brought visual spectacle and impact, though there was nothing to see beyond the bound of the museum gardens a buzz resonating around the city – something significant was happening. Something that everyone had a stake in.

The medieval tradition of the plays on the wagons being celebrated this year – is a certainly a more ‘distributed’ approach in its planning and preparation and in its final realisation – The effort and the energy put into producing plays happens behind closed doors in schools, the university, church halls, farmers barn and in unusual uncharted corners of the city – wherever people can find space to rehearse their scene and build their set. A ‘community of communities’ bringing forth the plays.

There is no pomp and ceremony in the months in the running-up to the plays, no yellow bikes lining routes or knitted bunting hanging in the trees – but on the day, the tens of thousands of people that engage with the pageantry of the plays as the move from location to location or that sit and watch at the playing stations are seeing something unique – something that not only that makes York distinctive and engaging as a tourist experience, but also speaks of the commitment and enthusiasm of the communities in York – which makes it a compelling place to live and to work.

In the last year we’ve seen the city centre of York in upheaval as major ‘essential works’ were carried out securing gas supplies for the city – Roads were closed, areas cordoned off and peoples work and life inconvenienced, but it passed and life carried on as normal.

It is probably glib to make the comparison and to say that the opportunity to engage in a city wide civic expression of our cultural heritage and our creative distinctiveness is as important as a reliable and safe gas mains supply – but it could be argued that the as York Cycle of Mystery Plays capture peoples hearts and minds, embedded as part of the fabric of the city – the disruption caused by these ‘essential works’ is a small price to pay.

 

Ben Pugh – 13/07/2014

Call for Volunteers – York Mystery Plays

York Mystery Plays is one of the largest community events in the city’s calendar and it is looking for volunteers to help make it the biggest and best yet.

From the Mystery Plays call out:

York Mystery Plays is an exciting event that only happens every four years and is performed over two Sundays in July. 12 community groups will be performing 12 plays on 12 waggons that will process through the streets and perform at 4 different playing stations, filling York’s ancient streets with music and drama in a tradition that goes back to medieval times.

With paid ticketed seating areas at two of the playing stations and it being free to view at all of them, this is a fantastic opportunity to be part of this unusual and rare event. You would be working with a core team of professional stewards to assist audiences, check tickets, sell programmes and collect audiences responses.

There is also a mini Festival happening in the week between the two Sunday performances so we will be looking for volunteers to support in much the same way for events there. There are two shifts, a morning and an afternoon (time varies slightly depending on your playing station) and are approx 4 hours each.

Events like this cannot happen without people like you, so if you would like to take part in this amazing event, please email me at lizzie@purple-marketing.co.uk and I can send you a form with more details and to collect your availability.

We will then have our first briefing on Thurs 26th June 6.30pm at Bedern Hall.

The new Purple Guide is now online

Event organisers will be (or at least should be) very familiar with the Purple Guide – it has provided guidance across a range of subjects from crowd management to fireworks, medical provision to waste management, and so on, since 1993.

Over the last couple of years the HSE have undergone consultation with industry practitioners and have together drawn up a new version.

The new Purple Guide is available now (in draft) online:

**UPDATE – the draft version online is closed now ** (01/2014)

www.thepurpleguide.co.uk 

From the site:

“The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events (Draft) has been drawn up by the Events Industry Forum in consultation with the UK events industry, including representatives from regional and national Government. This publication is designed to replace the original ‘Purple Guide’ (HSG195) which was originally published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in consultation with the industry.

 Covering both legislation and good practice, this new guide has been designed to sign-post event organisers and suppliers to the practices and issues that need to be considered when events are being organised. The contents are not designed to be prescriptive and those using this guidance should undertake appropriate risk assessments and evaluations to evaluate the specific requirements of the specific events they are organising or involved with.”