Ferdinand Kingsley to play both God and Jesus in York Mystery Plays

PUBLISHED: 19:57 02 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:34 20 February 2013

Ferdinand Kingsley, cast as both God and Jesus in this summer’s York Mystery Plays

Ferdinand Kingsley, cast as both God and Jesus in this summer’s York Mystery Plays

Sir Ben Kingsley's son has been chosen to play dual a role in York spectacular

York Mystery Plays has opted for the ultimate two-for-one deal, casting a single actor to play both God and Jesus in this summers groundbreaking
production Ferdinand Kingsley, son of celebrated Scarborough-born actor Sir Ben Kingsley, said he was delighted to accept both roles, while joint artistic directors Damian Cruden and Paul Burbridge said they had fulfilled their ambition to find an exciting young talent capable of pulling off such a complex task.

The production promises to be spectacular, said Ferdinand, 24. Its scale and ambition are hugely exciting and the setting of St Marys Abbey seems perfect.

Britain is brimming with fantastic theatre this year, and I really think York Mystery Plays could prove to be one of the highlights. Im 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 York Mystery Plays remains as strong as ever.

He will start rehearsals with the rest of the 500-strong cast early this month. A second professional actor was due to be cast as the Devil just as Yorkshire Life went to press.

Ferdinand, 24, has performed in Hamlet and Welcome to Thebes for The National Theatre and Little Eyolf and Troilus & Cressida for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His TV and film credits include the BBCs Vincent Van Gogh: Painted with Words, The Last Legion, which also starred his father, and Richard II, part of the BBCs Shakespeare season to be aired later this year.

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, said Damian Cruden, who has been artistic director of York Theatre Royal since 1997.

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 who is more than capable of fulfilling this desire as well as bringing to the stage such a complex double.

More than 1,700 local volunteers are involved in staging the plays in St Marys Abbey in Museum Gardens. Its estimated that around 36,000 people will see the production between August 2nd and 27th.

The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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