Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sinful Clothes are such a Mystery...!

The beautiful outfit pictured on our blog today is just sinful… Well, to be precise it’s the costume worn by one of the Seven Sins in Doomsday, the final play of the Lichfield Mysteries, and it’s on display in our Bookshop. Six other shops around the city have joined us to support organisers of the massive event by taking part in a special competition. It’s quite simple. You have to guess which Sin is represented by the clothes on show in each business, and if you name them all correctly you could win a prize! But the competition ends tomorrow, so you’d better get your thinking caps on and start puzzling it out.

There are 27 plays in the Lichfield Mysteries, which will be performed in the city in May next year, keeping alive a tradition which dates back to medieval times, when members of the trade and craft guilds acted out Bible tales in the open air. The Lichfield Cycle was revived in 1994, and includes fragments of text from the city’s original dramas, as well as text from other cycles.

Each play is staged by a different local group, with around 600 people (from schoolchildren to pensioners) acting out the stories in a colourful spectacular that lasts for two days, with productions in the Market Square and the Cathedral. In addition, some plays will be mounted on a mobile stage, which will tour the district.

A huge amount of work goes into the Mysteries, which take place every third year. The next one takes place on May 3 and 4, 2015, which may seem a long time away, but make a note of the dates now, because the dramas (each is performed twice on each day) are well worth watching, and if you’ve never seen them before you should – just because the plays are based on Bible stories doesn’t mean you have to be religious to enjoy them. And their origins may be centuries old, but you can still relate to them in the 21st century. Every human emotion is there: humour, wit, passion, sadness, love, anger… And they look wonderful with all those incredible costumes, and they really are great fun (I’m a fan – can you tell?).

According to the Lichfield Mysteries’ excellent website (it tells you how you can get involved, and also has details of the organisation’s fundraising activities, as well as details about the competition and you’ll find it at the community-based arts project, is probably the largest such event in England to be free of charge to participants and spectators.

Chris Hancox, Manager of Oxfam Books & Music in Lichfield, said: “We jumped at the chance to help support and promote Lichfield Mysteries, which is a unique event. Over the last few years it’s become one of Lichfield’s key events, reviving an old custom, attracting visitors, and encouraging residents of all ages to work together for the good of the local community. Oxfam is very much a part of that community, and we are anxious to be involved in any way we can.”

And if you’re still wondering about that shimmering bronze outfit featured at the beginning of this post, none of us have any idea about Sin… We’re a virtuous lot here at Oxfam Lichfield! But if you think you know take a look at the other sinful costumes on show at S & J Music, the George Hotel, Lichfield Cathedral, Spark Cafe Lichfield, Lichfield Library, and Lichfield Heritage Centre.
Three of a kind... Three Sins,from the Lichfield Mysteries

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