“Jerusalem is coming to a street near you this Easter” by Bess Twiston-Davis for The Times (March 9, 2013)
More and more people all over Europe are preparing to take part in Passion plays, writes Bess Twiston Davies. “It’s modern,” says Lex Houba, but we don’t shoot Jesus – he’s going on the Cross”. The Passion play he produces in Tregelen, near the Dutch border with Germany, is the only one in the Netherlands. It is staged once every five years, and Houba, now 67 has been involved since his mother first brought him, aged 3, to rehearsals.
“An actor who wears his own thorny crown” by David Twiston-Davis for The Telegraph (March 24, 2013)
Strangers often come up to actor James Burke-Dunsmore with a bottle of water, asking him to turn it into wine. It is something he has grown used to during the 16 years he has been playing Jesus Christ in 57 separate productions. “I’m flattered,” he says. “ This is a sign in a supposedly indifferent or hostile age that people are interested.”
“Liverpool Cathedral to hold city’s first Passion Plays in Easter week”, by Laura Davis for The Liverpool Daily Post (March 14, 2013)
Christmas Nativity Plays:
Listen to an interview with Cutting Edge Theatre’s Suzanne Lofthus about the various Nativity plays taking place across the country.
“Amateur performances for Holy Week” by Bess Twiston Davies in The Times
“I’m not religious,” says Ken Cardwell, “but when they put Jesus on the Cross, it got through to me. It was very real.” Cardwell, 73, was one of the 3,000 spectators on the beach at Brighton last Easter to watch the city’s first Passion play. With a 100-strong amateur cast from 14 countries, which included students, an ex-prisoner, a former homeless person and three people with special needs, the Brighton Passion, now in its second year, typifies the trend for community Passion plays….
“Rejoice! Jesus is coming to Trafalgar Square – and Brighton and Guildford” by Matthew Cresswell for The Guardian
Being Jesus can really hurt. Of all people, James Burke-Dunsmore should know, having played the world’s most famous Nazarene for the last 14 years. While his open-air Passion plays have been supported by the BBC and funded by wealthy businessmen, there is no guarantee they will run perfectly. One year an amateur actor playing a Roman centurion inadvertently smashed his ankle with a lump hammer when nailing him to the cross. The same year, in -5C conditions, his vocal cords were so cold he had to scream his words to the audience.
“Passion Play on the Beach” for The Argus
Hundreds of people turned out to watch actors recreate the crucifixion of Jesus on Brighton beach. A cast of 90 recreated his death on the cross in the passion play organised by Soul by the Sea – a collection of Brighton and Hove churches. Despite the rain, up to 1,000 people watched the play…
Louisiana State Penitentiary: “A Passion Play in Prison: Acting Forgiveness and Redemption” in The Economist
It is painfully hot and dry in the rodeo arena at Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, the largest maximum security prison in America. Under a blazing sun American flags hang limply around the sand-covered enclosure, where 70 prisoners are acting out a unique version of “The Life of Jesus Christ”. By the time the three ingeniously constructed crosses are raised on a small hill of dirt, the physical torture of a slow death by crucifixion is palpable. This is the first time a passion play has been staged at a state prison.
“On this stage Jesus is a Robber; the Devil’s a Rapist” by John Burnett for NPR
There are more than 5,300 inmates at the Lousiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Nearly 4,000 of them are serving life without parole. Last month, the Angola Prison Drama Club staged a ply unlike any other in the prison’s experience. The Life of Jesus Christ featured 70 inmates, men and women acting together for the first time – in costume, with a real camel, performing for the general public. For the untrained actors, this production held special meaning as they saw pieces of their own lives revealed in the characters they played.
“Thousands attend Perth Easter Play” in The West Australian
Thousands gathered on St George’s Terrace this afternoon for The Cathedral Drama Unit’s fully-booked performance of Passion of Christ 2012. The grounds of Government House were abuzz with a 3000-strong crowd witnessing the performance telling the story of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Director Tony Howes said it was the first time in many years the Easter story as a play was performed in the heart of the city. “It allows a wonderful preparation for performer and audience alike, as Lent ends and we await the impact that Easter must mean for all throughout Perth, both believer and non-believer.”
“Opinion: Preston Passion – The Power of Community Spirit”: Online Opinion Article about the Live BBC event
The passion of the people was evident, but I wasn’t sure how people would judge reaction to The Passion. During our live blog, we asked non-religious readers what the event meant for them. Most agreed that they were proud to see people from their city, of all ages, religions and races, come together to watch or perform under the national spotlight. As an atheist myself, I respected the importance of the Passion story and it’s place in the religious calendar, but it stood out for me as a demonstration of universal themes – suffering and sacrifice – which hold particular significance for people facing problems in the world today.