York Mystery Plays 2012: Katrina Knowles

Posted on 13 November 2012 | Narrative, Audio

My name is Katrina Knowles. I was born in York in 1961; I’ve always lived in York.

This is my home; it’s in my bones really, it’s part of who I am, so I’ve nothing to compare it with. It’s interesting going to other places, as I always love to come back to York, and I always feel very fortunate to be here. Partly that’s just its beauty, partly it’s the history and partly it’s just that it’s my home and I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else.

In the past 50 years of living in York, there’s quite a lot of changes. When I was young, employment was easy; you went to the railways, you went to Rowntree’s, you went to Terry’s, and members of my family did all of those things, and now those jobs just aren’t there anymore.

I imagine most people are employed, as I am, at the university, or perhaps by the council or the health service, but that’s got to be one of the major employers, and that’s interesting to see, and York is much more gentrified than it was when I was young, so that’s quite an interesting change, but these things happen gradually, don’t they? You absorb them as you go along.

The number of students in this city is huge, really, compared with the population, so I think that’s had an impact; we’ve done our best for years to break down that divide, and things like the York Carnival started out as a caveat project and now has become student run and very big and popular, and involving students with schools, so there are ways of breaking it down.

It always surprises me that people think it’s outside of town really, because it takes me 20 minutes to walk from my home in Fishergate to the university, and everything is so close and easy. It’s a different mind-set I think, depending on where you’ve come from, isn’t it?

Being involved in the Mystery Plays is something that I’ve been meaning to do forever, and I’ve never got round to it, and this being York 800 and Olympic year and all of those things, it’s the year to do it, plus it’s such a big production and I wanted to be involved; I’ve done lots of amateur dramatics over the years, but this one was the one to go for, I decided.

I’m Queen 1, I bring gold; a lot of traditionally male roles have been taken by women in this production. I’ve watched the wagon plays everytime they’ve happened; again, it’s one of those things you kind of absorb, if you’re here and you’re aware of it, and just sort of part of who you are somehow; you get so used to seeing them.