After a three year break the hugely successful Belper Passion play returns to the streets and churches of the town in 2018. The performance will see a move to a traditional setting with Roman soldiers and costumes of the period. With a new director, Jannice Richtof, and a new script by George Gunby, the performance is being produced by Churches Together in Belper.
The event will include The Walk Of Witness which has attracted up to 800 people in the past.
The Belper Passion Walk of Witness from outside HSBC Bank, King Street Free admission. The Easter Story beginning with the Walk Of Witness to St. Peter’s Church followed by the Passion Play at 11:45am in St Peter’s Church.
Co-ordinated by Churches Together In Belper and produced by CTIB and George Gunby, the Belper Passion attracted an estimated 700 – 1000 people to the Walk Of Witness with an audience of an estimated 600 in the church along with 120 performers.
The Passion Play (directed by Jannice Richthof and written by George Gunby) included music from the ‘This Man’ Oratorio by local composer Anne De Waal and this was supplemented by the CTIB Flash Mob who sang on the streets during the Walk and during the resurrection which closed the event.
Casting took place in November 2017 and twenty actors showed interest and eventually all took part. The ages ranged from 14 to 81 years old with 60% coming from local churches. At the same time it was decided to include music from the ‘This Man’ Oratorio and for the CTIB Flash Mob to sing during the Walk and end the play with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. This resulted in a cast of 120, all from within the Belper / Derby areas.
An early decision was made to set the Passion 2018 in the original timeframe and characters. Jerusalem was the setting with costumes of the period. The narrative was supplemented with songs from ‘This Man’ Ortorio. This added an extra dimension to the piece.
The Passion Trust Grant enabled CTIB to raise the standard of the Belper Passion. I have used a local lighting director for six years with a sound engineer from within the catchment area. Programmes were distributed free of charge with an Easter message and dates for Easter Services. A flyer was also distributed which carried dates for services. The grant also assisted with the purchase of costumes and props. The general consensus was that it was the best yet. However it is likely that CTIB will decide to take a two / three year break to keep the Passion fresh and have relatively low key pieces in 2019 / 2020. The event was videoed and will be edited into the ‘best bits’.