Satan comes to Yorkshire

Hull has a date with the Devil in a very few days. “The  fiend of Hell”, aka Titivillus, is the arch-villain of the celebrated, but rarely performed, medieval morality play Mankind which will be staged at Hull University’s Gulbenkian Theatre this week.

“What’s thrilling is that the audience are lured into siding with the Devil during the spectacle; this symbolises humanity’s tendency to transgress,” said Dr Philip Crispin, Mankind’s director.
“The play features a battle for humanity’s soul,” he added. “The representative character Mankind eventually falls for the jigs, japes and lewd antics of vices such as Mischief, New Guise and Nought before falling from grace spectacularly, but his encounter with Mercy leads to his redemption.”
Local student Jess Duffield, plays Titivillus and promises to appear as never before. There are also a few satirical references to local luminaries in keeping with the spirit of the original script.
Dr Crispin points out that there’s some racy and coarse material in the play but believes it is entirely suitable for anyone over the age of 12. Moreover, he notes that the play would have been staged during Lent and tackles some very serious issues such as free will, civic responsibility and moral cowardice.

Dr Crispin is exploring the highly plausible Dominican influence on a play which presents
a challenge to the free will of every spectator. He is also  to make a DVD of the play for use by schools and universities and would welcome enquiries.

“Seeing  this Lenten play in the week before Ash Wednesday would provide much to ponder for the season,” he noted.  

Mankind runs from Wednesday 10 to Saturday 13 February at the university and there will be a symposium on the Saturday, featuring leading scholars and theatre practitioners, entitled Staging the Medieval.

Dr Crispin has also organised a symposium featuring world-renowned speakers and practitioners entitled Staging the Medieval for Saturday 13 February. The public is warmly invited to reserve a place.

A world-renowned panel of speakers include Carl Heap, the founder of the Medieval Players and director of Shakespeare for schools for the NT; Dr Elisabeth Dutton, Professor Alexandra Johnston, Professor John McKinnell, Professor Peter  Meredith, Professor Meg Twycross, and Professor Gweno Williams.
Mankind will be playing  in the Donald Roy Theatre in the Gulbenkian Centre from 10-13 February at 7.30pm.
There will be a further Saturday matinee performance on 13th February at 3pm as part of the symposium which will then be followed by an after-show discussion.

It will cost £10 (£5 for students) to attend the symposium. This will include the ticket for the play.

Registration will start from 10am and the symposium will get underway at 10.45am. It is
scheduled to finish formally by about 5.30pm.

To indicate your intention to come, please contact Sue Humphrey  e-mail:; 6141

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