Ferdinand Kingsley has been named to play both God and Jesus in this summer’s York Mystery Plays in Museum Gardens.
Ferdinand, 24, who has performed in productions for The National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, said he was “delighted” to accept the roles and is looking forward to being in such a “spectacular” production this August.
Joint artistic directors for the plays, Damian Cruden and Paul Burbridge said they had fulfilled their ambition to find an “exciting young talent” capable of playing such a complex role.
Ferdinand will start rehearsals for the plays in early July, when he will join together with the rest of the 500 strong cast. He is the first of two professional actors to be named, with the second playing the Devil being announced in the next few weeks.
Ferdinand said: “I am delighted to accept the roles of God and Jesus in The York Mystery Plays 2012. The production promises to be spectacular, its scale and ambition are hugely exciting and the setting of St Mary’s Abbey seems perfect. Britain is brimming with fantastic theatre this year, and I really think The York Mystery Plays could prove to be one of the highlights. I’m looking forward to joining rehearsals and meeting the huge team of people already working on the show. The medieval cycle of plays has a world-famous performance history, and the fact that so many members of the local community are involved in this production is a sign that the collaborative and inclusive essence of the York Mystery Plays remains as strong as ever. I’m following in some good footsteps.”
Joint Artistic Directors for the 2012 production, Damian Cruden and Paul Burbridge, said: “It was always our intention to cast a young actor in the role of God/Jesus. We were keen that God should be portrayed as a young father with children (Adam and Eve), creative and energetic. In Ferdinand Kingsley we are delighted to have discovered a young actor more than capable of fulfilling this desire and bringing to the stage such a complex double.
“He is an exciting young talent with Northern roots who has shown a sensitivity to the subject, an understanding of the text and a passion for the project. Audiences at The National Theatre in London are already familiar with his work and we look forward to Ferdinand taking the central role in this huge community endeavour here in York.”
Ferdinand’s theatre credits include Hamlet and Welcome to Thebes for The National Theatre and Troilus and Cressida, and Little Eyolf for the Royal Shakespeare Company. TV and film credits include the BBC’s Vincent Van Gogh: Painted With Words and The Last Legion. Ferdinand will also be in Richard II, which is part of the BBC’s Shakespeare season to be aired later this year.
York Mystery Plays are set to be the biggest outdoor theatre production in the country in 2012.