A consciousness of the past has been an essential determinant of community in the city of Chester, England. This awareness and fascination has been bolstered by a strong civic tradition of drama. In particular, the city's Whitsun Plays have been a vehicle for communicating the myth of the city's medieval heritage, helping to reinforce the sense of history that is part of Chester's identity. Building up the material in REED: Chester, David Mills has produced a detailed study of Chester's Whitsun Plays in their local, physical, social, political, cultural, and religious context. A continuum has survived between the Middle Ages and the present day, providing not only an understanding of the plays themselves, but a narrative of the ways in which manuscripts survive and the functions that they serve. The continued performance of these plays is significant of modern play revivals as a political and sociological phenomenon, demonstrating the power that these rituals and plays still hold.
Publisher: University of Toronto Press