Volunteering in the Dudley Passion Play!

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Sally, who had worked on an intensive care unit but is now retired, was part of the community cast in the Passion Play in Dudley, where she worked with professional actors from Saltmine Theatre Company. She was part of the crowd scenes and also one of the ‘militants’ who arrested Jesus. Read our latest blog to see what she experienced as part of the community cast.

Rachel is the CEO of Saltmine and gave an announcement at church saying we’re putting on a Passion Play in Dudley and we just want to know if anyone would like to join the community cast or be a steward. So I sat next to my friend ‘Oh, that’s good fun!’ She said she couldn’t possibly be an actor, but we could be stewards, but I said ‘No, because you’re stuck in one place!’ I want to follow it.

So I did an application to join the community cast and that’s how we started! We met every Thursday evening, for seven weeks we had to break off for Easter, and what was lovely was you had all these Christians from different churches, Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal Church of England, and all in together.

I knew three or four people from our church, but I didn’t know anybody else. By the end of two months you felt like a family like a community. It was such great fun to do. To know that the Lord is working in your area, and you could feel it. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit working in the community that you live in.

There were prayer groups that were praying every week for it, and I think over the two performances there were over a thousand people actually got to see the production.

I loved it! I was a militant so we had proper police shields – plastic and very heavy. We were keeping the the crowd back and we were keeping Jesus in and you had to be fierce, and you weren’t allowed to smile. They gave you these breathing techniques, and you had to shout ‘Stay back’, ‘There’s nothing going on,’ ‘Out of the way.’

It was really good, because the crowd actors were placed between the crowd and the audience didn’t know that we were crowd actors, so it was quite interesting for them!

There was one older man, I think he was probably on the streets and probably had a few drinks, and he actually thought I was a Policewoman and we were really arresting Jesus. He said, ‘I’m a Christian, you can’t kill him.’ He took it so seriously, and said ‘You can’t kill him’ and started banging on my shield.

I’m retired now, but I worked on an intensive care unit and I’m used to dealing with a lot of people from different sections of society. And as you can see, I love talking to people but I wasn’t necessarily confident in talking about Jesus to people. We did have a postcard with a QR code on it that you could see the route and the dates. So I gave out quite a lot of those out to all my friends. I’ve got a lot of friends who are atheist or agnostic, and four of them did come to watch the person play so. Thoroughly enjoyed it, so that was good.

Find out more about the Dudley Passion and watch the trailer here.