A medieval Noah’s Ark play that was first performed on the streets of fifteenth-century Chester is set to be revived at Liverpool’s Albert Dock this weekend. The Chester Noah Play will be performed on Saturday (May 4) at 1.30pm and 2.30pm outside the Piermaster’s House by Tate Liverpool, by actors from the Liverpool University Players. The performance is part of the Moby Dick on the Mersey festival.
The play tells the story of Noah’s building of the ark and collecting of the animals but differs from the biblical account – because Mrs. Noah won’t get on the boat.
In medieval Chester, the Waterleaders and Drawers of Dee – the people who carted water from the River Dee around the city–originally performed the Noah play. The figures of Noah and God also talk extensively about the construction of medieval ships, reflecting the city’s importance as a medieval port.
At 1pm on Saturday. ahead of the performances Dr Andrea Young will also give an introductory talk about the play in the Anthony Walker Education Centre (3rd floor, International Slavery Museum). She will look at how the original play may have looked and the clues we have about how it was staged. The talk will finish at 1.25 pm in time for people to get to the Piermaster’s House for the first performance.
And if Noah’s ark looks familiar, it’s on loan from Spike Theatre, who previously used it in their play Sink or Swim.
Dr Young, said: “The Chester Noah Play blends both comedy and realism with the bible story and is great for the whole family. Its subject matter is also perfect for the Maritime Museum and Albert Dock. It will also feature singing, medieval style costumes and ‘special effects’ in keeping with the period such as ‘flying’ birds and puppets. The play was originally performed outdoors and we are keeping that tradition – although we will move inside if it rains too much!”