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Jesus with a crown of thorns for Edinburgh Easter Play.

Saturday 8th April 2023

Join the “quintessential one-off theatre event,” according to The Scotsman. The large-scale community Passion Play telling the Easter story in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens on Easter Saturday each year.

The first Easter Play was performed in Princes Street Gardens in 2005 on the Saturday of Easter weekend. Hundreds of people contributed their time and skills to make it happen, and over 3,200 people came to watch, despite somewhat inclement weather!

The creative team was led by Suzanne Lofthus, who has directed the Easter Play almost every year since, working with writer Kamala Santos and actors Chris Duffy, Duncan Rennie and Sam Rowe in the role of Jesus.

Some of the cast and crew had worked on The Life of Jesus Christ, which was performed for several years on the grounds of Dundas Castle near Edinburgh.

As the tradition of performing Mystery Plays or Passion Plays was being revived around the world, Edinburgh, despite its reputation for celebrating arts and culture, had few events happening at Easter. It was believed an outdoor play commemorating the Passion of Christ would appeal to the Christian and wider communities.

Nine people from five churches in Edinburgh came together to form a steering group to make the play happen, and it was considered a great success. The Edinburgh Easter Play (as it came to be known) went on to be performed annually in the dramatic setting of Princes Street Gardens for the next five years. In 2007, the cast of ‘The Life of Jesus Christ’ joined the Easter Play cast for a special production enjoyed by an audience of about 5000. Duncan Rennie took over the role of Jesus that year, and continued to work with the Easter Play until 2018.

 

A series of images showing Jesus on a hillside with arms pulled out with red ribbons held by people around him in traditional costume.