Phil Mardin, a member of a local church wrote the Bedford Passion Play. Cally Lawrence produced it. A cast of 86 (members of a very wide range of local churches and other community groups) performed it on Saturday 26th March 2016 in the centre of Bedford. This was to an audience estimated to have exceeded 1000 people. The actors were aged from a child of 6 to people in their 80s.
About 30 others from the local community made costumes and worked as stewards. Colchester Roman Society and Legio Secunda joined in the production as Roman soldiers and citizens.
In addition, other community groups we engaged with (outside of the churches) included the following:
- Bedford Pipe Band, Bedford Community Gospel Choir,
- Sound Investment (a theatre group for adults with learning difficulties),
- Tibbs Dementia Foundation,
- Bedford College Media Department
- Bedford BID, and the
- Bedford Retirement Education Centre.
A local textile design teacher donated most of the material for the costumes. Bedford College Media Department are making videos as part of their course work of the play itself and of our preparations for the performance – these videos will be available soon.
The Bedford Passion Play was performed in three locations in the centre of Bedford. It culminated with the crucifixion scene on the Castle Mound and the resurrection scene in the nearby castle ruins. The local press and BBC Three Counties Radio featured the Passion Play. And local churches widely promoted it by distributing leaflets in the town centre (generously printed and paid for by Bedford BID).
“What an amazing performance on this memorable day for Bedford” – audience member
“We really enjoyed it. Amazing to see so many people there. I loved the doves too” – Allyson West
“What an amazing and powerful performance! The cast did a superb job and Cally and her team deserve our respect for hours and hours of planning. James played Jesus with real commitment and skill. Huge thanks to all involved for bringing the passion to our streets.” – Vicar of St Andrews
“Wow…that certainly brings the Crucifixion story close to home, quite horrific in its message. Well done to everyone who was in it, a very emotional time for all I should imagine” – Ann Margaret Truscott