Introducing Jesus by enacting the story of Easter on the streets of Marlborough.
Marlborough Community Passion Play – an ecumenical project
The Marlborough Community Passion Play was a Christchurch Methodist Church Marlborough production for Marlborough Churches together. The core project team were drawn from seven local churches: Christchurch (Methodist), St Mary’s (CofE), St Thomas Moore (Catholic), Friends Meeting House, Marlborough College Chapel, Holy Cross, Ramsbury (Cof E) Highworth Community Church, Swindon (Evangelical).
Session Plans developed as part of MCPP were shared with local schools. Members of MCPP visited schools and put on assemblies. Pupils involved in learning the story of Jesus over the Spring Term. Many children made their own costumes and palm leaves using a template and methodology developed by our Stage Manager. Parents and pupils invited to see MCPP. Two of the schools put on their own mini-passion plays as part of the strategy, for which MCPP Press team facilitated coverage in local and regional media.
- St Francis School Pewsey. 236 pupils aged 2 – 11. The Headmaster took a part in the Passion Play, and the pupils put on their own mini passion play. ( http://www.st-francis.wilts.sch.uk/news/easter-passion-play/ )
- Preshute School. http://www.preshute.wilts.sch.uk/ The 200 pupils made 400 palm leaves and their own costumes. The school put on its own mini-passion play which was reported locally.
- Marlborough St Mary’s School. Members of the board of governors took parts in MCPP. The teachers used the session plans. Pupils made palm leaves and costumes. The school provided rehearsal space for the outdoor final and full dress rehearsals of MCPP.
- St John’s Academy, Marlborough. Parents and members of the teaching staff took part in MCPP. Two pupils were dancers in MCPP.
- Marlborough College. Members of staff took key roles in MCPP both on and off-stage. The College part funded the free Souvenir Programme, and provided additional free parking for visitors to the town coming for MCPP.
Local Press, Media and Social Media
The strategy was to engage with local and regional press and media on a continuous basis over five months and to provide social media outlets both through our own website…. www.marlboroughpassion.uk and Facebook Page. Local Press carried stories in 18 out of 20 final weeks. This included three front page photo articles and a full double page spread. Press coverage included Wiltshire Life, Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, Marlborough News Online, and The Advisor. BBC Radio Wiltshire interviewed MCPP on four occasions over the five months including live reports on the day, reaching an estimated 105,000 (RAJAR).
Task-Based Community Work and Hired Help
The strategy was to involve local people in as many tasks as possible related to putting on the Passion Play and raising funds for local charities. By working together people formed new friendship groups with those in other organisations and thus broke down perceived separations between those organisations leading to a greater local community engagement.
Marlborough Community Passion Play was free to any member of the public. The organisers gave out 700 free, 32-page souvenir programmes, and an information/pastoral support point was available on the day. A cast of 60 local people with only one professional (Frazer Blaxland, who played Jesus). Another 140 local people produced, costumes, set, props, managed press and publicity, raised funds, manned the street closures, etc. Over 200 local school pupils were involved in the project and many came to see the performance. The local paper estimated the audience at 1,500 people.