6 October 2018 – 7 October 2018 all-day
Iffley Church Hall
Church Way
Penny Tyack


We are putting on a Mystery Play next June! Come and join in!

The Creation and Deluge, a Medieval Drama of Human Folly in Iffley

will be performed on 29 and 30 June 2019


Are you keen on ACTING, MAKING THINGS, FINDING THINGS, ADMIN or ANYTHING ELSE? If so COME AND JOIN a group of enthusiastic volunteers on Saturday 6 October in the Church Hall, Iffley OX4 4EG between 11.30 and 5. This is when we will be putting together the “banns” (a brief digest of the story to be told). The next day, Sunday 7 October, we will present a taster scene to anyone keen to find out more. This will be in the Church Hall from 11.30-12.15.

Come and try out a role on

Friday 19 October. 7.30. Rose Hill Community Centre. First casting workshop.

Sunday 21 October. 2.15. Iffley Church Hall. Second casting workshop.


Mystery Plays were cycles of short plays that told stories from the Bible, finishing spectacularly with the crucifixion, resurrection and last judgement. They were performed between the 14th and 16th centuries by local communities, and were often organised by trade guilds who presented the Bible stories through the eyes of ordinary people, not those of the Church.

We will be putting on two of the Old Testament stories which formed the introduction to every Mystery Cycle and are part of the heritage of many religions.

The creation and the great deluge touch on a theme of relevance to the present: the destruction of the natural world through the wilful folly of humankind. Everyone in Oxford knows about flooding and its causes. After God has created a natural paradise, Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge (wouldn’t you do the same?) and are expelled. Humans subsequently surrender to a life of indulgence and only Noah obstinately takes the long view – while the temptation of Noah’s wife in a comic vein mirrors that of Eve. Noah ends with the rainbow, an expression of hope.


Two full performances will take place in front of the West Door of Iffley Church at a time of year when the evenings are long and the weather at its least unreliable. There will be a supplementary performance of Noah in the Rose Hill Community centre, to be accompanied by a presentation by the children of Rose Hill youth club.

There are three aspects to this project.

  • This is part of the Living Stones project which seeks to breathe new life into the stones of our romanesque church. The production will respond to the imagery of windows and carvings. The Ark was long regarded as a metaphor for the church. Through uttering again the words of medieval people in a medieval place, we reengage with the past.
  • The medieval parish church serves the whole community, not just people of one religious persuasion, and is used for multiple purposes. We hope that this event will bring diverse people together.
  • We intend to create an experience that will be thoroughly enjoyable both to take part in and to watch – while at the same time speaking to people about different things in different ways.

 The performance will be done in modern dress, but using medieval language (discreetly modified where words have lost their meanings), supported by music supplied by the medieval band, Ghaetta.




  • God x 3 (God being a trinity of uncertain gender)
  • Lucifer + Serpent + Devil (the diabolic trinity)
  • Angels good and bad
  • Adam and Eve
  • Noah and his Wife, with their 3 sons and 3 daughters-in-law
  • Animals, floodwaters, drowned sinners
  • Musicians, painters, carpenters, ticket-sellers and helpers of other kinds


The performance will start briefly in the Church Hall, before processing to the space in front of the West Door of the Church. In case of heavy rain, we will use the Church and Church Hall. There will be an additional performance of Noah in the Rose Hill Community Centre on Wednesday June 26th.

Who: We will cast the play from local people as far as is possible. The play requires a mix of generations, and the main qualification is enthusiasm. These plays were written for amateurs, using their own natural voices to tell a story that was important to them.


October 6/7 2018: a group of enthusiastic volunteers will spend Saturday rehearsing the “banns” (a brief digest of the story to be told) and present them on Sunday after morning service.

Friday 19 October. 7.30. Rose Hill. First casting workshop.

Sunday 21 October. 2.15. Church Hall. Second casting workshop. Please come on the date that suits you best.

After Christmas: Rehearsals begin. Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons according to availability of rehearsal space. We aim to be flexible around people’s commitments. Some small group work during the week according to availability.

Wednesday 26 June 2019 mid-afternoon: Rose Hill performance

Sunday 23 June afternoon: dress rehearsal

Saturday 29 June evening: performance

Sunday 30 June afternoon: performance



For expressions of interest and offers to help…

Penny Tyack:

David Wiles: