Stephanie Pena plays Mary Magdalene in this year’s Wintershall Production of The Passion of Jesus. Today she talks ‘behind the scenes’ about this year’s Passion play which will take place in London’s Trafalgar Square. Find out about life as a Wintershall actor and about the year round productions at the Wintershall estate in Surrey.

Radio Scotland in purple letters on a black background

Suzanne Lofthus was on BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Morning with Tony Kearney, talking about this year’s open-air, immersive production as well as the play’s theme – the women who were part of Jesus’ life.

‘Passion Plays to be staged across the UK’, by Bess Twiston-Davis, The Tablet, 26 March 2024.

A Namibian-born actress drawn close to Mary by a family tragedy is starring as the mother of Jesus in the Oxford Passion Play on March 30. Christi Warner told The Tablet the death of her 18-year-old elder sister in a car accident had “brought me really close to Mary, and understanding what she must have felt. For me, I lost a sister. For her, it was a son.” Read more here.

‘Worcester reminded of beauty of forgiveness by divine passion play’, Worcester Observer, 29 March 2024.

People across the Faithful City were reminded of the beautiful power of forgiveness as the magnificently divine Worcester Passion Play returned to Cathedral Square today (Good Friday). The performance delivered a grand retelling of the Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal and the crucifixion as well as Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Read more here.

Newspaper report on the Worcester Passion Play with an image of Jesus carrying the cross and clothed in a purple robe with a crown of thorns on his head.

‘Edinburgh Easter passion play puts often ignored women’s stories to the foreground’ by Ross Crae in The Sunday Post, 24 March 2024.

It’s a story dating back over 2,000 years but, every year, Edinburgh’s Easter passion play finds new perspectives that resonate with today’s world. Read more here. 

‘Future of Edinburgh’s ‘Easter Play’ cast into doubt over funding crisis’, The Scotsman, March 2024.

Edinburgh’s Easter Play is staged by a community cast drawn from across the city, with a professional actor playing Jesus. More than 40 performers will appear in the latest production, which will focus on the women who were part of Jesus’s life. Read more here.

‘Easter Bank Holiday: The Havant Passion wows locals with incredible passion play.’ Portsmouth News, 29 March 2024.

The Havant Passion Play has wowed locals once again following a spectacular performance of Jesus’s resurrection. See pictures and read more here.

‘Briefing: Passion Plays and Antisemitism’, Religion Media Centre.

There’s a resurgence of interest across the world in Passion Plays, which depict the story of Jesus from Palm Sunday to the resurrection. The main one in Britain is at Trafalgar Square, produced by the Wintershall Trust, which attracts audiences of 20,000. There are at least twenty others taking place in towns and cities across Britain. But this year they are staged against a backdrop of heightened community tension… Read more here.


Listen to Suzanne Lofthus on the radio as she is interviewed on Radio Maria England

Listen to Suzanne Lofthus on the radio as she is interviewed on UCB Radio – Suzanne Lofthus

Nottingham Passion Play: BBC East midlands Today reported on the Nottingham Passion Play which was performed in St Marys Church and sold out a month before Easter. Listen to reporters interview cast members and discuss why the Easter story is described as ‘the greatest story ever told.’ Watch video here.

You can also listen to a BBC Radio Nottingham programme where Sarah Julian meets the people involved in the Nottingham Easter Play. Listen here.

Antonine Guard joins Edinburgh Passion Play, Scottish Field (7 April 2023) Members of the Antonine Guard living history society are taking part in the Edinburgh Passion Play tomorrow. The play remembers Jesus’s death on Good Friday ahead of his resurrection on Easter Day. Read the full article here.

Crowds watch Way of the Cross passion play in Gloucester, BBC (9 April 2023) A passion play depicting the story of Jesus’ final hours from sentencing to crucifixion has been enjoyed by a large Good Friday crowd. Read the full article here.

Passion play resonates with many feeling forsaken by life in modern Ireland, The Irish Times (6 April 2023)  Priest says Easter drama celebrates ‘that universal quest for meaning beyond the material things’ Read the full article here.

In pictures: Hastings Good Friday procession, Sussex World (10 April 2023) Churches in Hastings Old Town came together on Good Friday for the Procession of Witness and Stations of the Cross. Read the full article here.

BBC East Midlands Today covers the Nottingham Passion.

Jesus stands with his hands held out and two Roman soldiers with red cloaks, helmets and spears stand on either side of him. In the background are the rooftops of Edinburgh city.

Edinburgh Passion Play: David and Ruth Aird interviewed members of the team for their radio show Heart of the Matter on Sunday. You can listen at www.heartofthematter.biz or in the podcasts section of Amazon Music.

Margaret from the Small Voice podcast interviewed the director of the Edinburgh Passion Play and some of the other cast members. The podcast is available now and also includes an interview with Rachel Wood, who first had the idea to dramatise the Easter Story in Princes Street Gardens. Listen on this link, or search smallVOICE wherever you get podcasts (look for the panda logo!) Listen here.

Chester Mystery Play: We meet some of the team working on the Chester Mystery Plays and share one woman’s story of re-discovering her faith through her involvement. On #songsofpraise, Easter Sunday 2023, on BBC One at 1.15pm and afterwards here: Watch on iPlayer.

Theatre: The Nottingham Passion, Church Times (6 April, 2023) JAMES PACEY has been refining his Passion play since 2011. Its first incarnation, The Newark Passion, was followed by The Cambridge Passion, The Hucknall Passion, and other stagings, a pedigree that rapidly secured two sell-out performances last weekend. Read the full article here.

Play re-telling the story of Jesus will take to the streets of Stafford this Easter, In Your Area (23 February, 2023) This Easter, the streets of Stafford will be filled with crowds, laughter and raw emotion as the Passion of Jesus visits the county town.At the invitation of Love Stafford, there will be four open-air performances of Saltmine Theatre Company’s highly acclaimed contemporary Passion Play. Read the full article here.


After 250 crucifixions, Jesus seeks successor to bear his cross.  The Times (14 April 2022).

He has been Christ for 24 years. James Burke-Dunsmore is now leading the Wintershall Passion for the last time, but he says it’s not about playing a star role — his job is to serve the story. Read the full article here.

Why hundreds of people gathered in city for ‘intriguing’ outdoor spectacle, Eastern Daily Press (16 April 2022)

Audiences stood open-mouthed as they watched a dramatic retelling of the crucifixion of Christ, depicted in the centre of Norwich. Read the full article here.

Easter passion drama played out to large crowds on streets of Norwich, Celebrate Norwich and Norfolk (16 April 2022)

Over 1400 people watched the joyous conclusion of the Norwich Passion Play inside St Peter Mancroft church yesterday  while many more were captivated by the preceding dramatic scenes as they unfolded in the bright sunshine on Hay Hill and Millennium Plain.Audiences stood open-mouthed as they watched a dramatic retelling of the crucifixion of Christ, depicted in the centre of Norwich. Read the full article here.

Passion Trust Interview
UCB Radio, 17th Oct 2022

Talking Point with Vicky Gibbons, interviewing Alex Stewart-Clark

Jesus on the cross in Trafalgar square with crown of thorns and loincloth and bloodied whip marks on his body.

‘Not what they expected’: Hornchurch Passion Play portrays Jesus’s grisly Easter crucifixion after two-year delay, Romford Recorder (19 April 2022)

Hornchurch Passion Play’s return to the green by Queen’s Theatre went “exceedingly well” after a forced hiatus due to Covid, says the production’s director. Read the full article here.

A Resurrection For York, York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust, Charles Hutchinson Review (3 July, 2021)

Intentionally, community cast and community audience became indistinguishable: we were all in this together, albeit socially distanced; pilgrims all, gathered to tell each other stories, led by Nick Jones and Sally Maybridge’s exhorting narrators. Read the full article here.

Drama group returns to Hamilton with their Easter story this Good Friday, Daily Record (12 April, 2022)

I Am With You Always’ is a new play, which journeys through Holy Week with Jesus and the disciples. This year’s play was specially created for Drama Kirk by Simon McCallum, a Scottish Playwright whose previous work includes BBC Scotland’s River City. Read the full article here.


The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Justin Welby said: “Passion Plays have been a feature of the life of our country since the Middle Ages, and for good reason: there is no greater story than that of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that this Easter, you can be caught up in the story of the love of God for the world in the person of Jesus. Come and See.”


Hundreds gather for Abingdon Passion play, Oxford Mail (7 April 2019)

Hundreds of people gathered at Abingdon’s Abbey Grounds on Saturday for an epic re-telling of the Passion of the Christ. This year saw more than 200 amateur actors again give their all in an outdoor performance of the Abingdon Passion Play, which has been held in the town every three years since 2013.  Read the full article here.

Hundreds gather for Abingdon Passion play, Oxford Mail (7 April 2019)

Hundreds of people gathered at Abingdon’s Abbey Grounds on Saturday for an epic re-telling of the Passion of the Christ. This year saw more than 200 amateur actors again give their all in an outdoor performance of the Abingdon Passion Play, which has been held in the town every three years since 2013.  Read the full article here.

Passion play: The often fraught history of the theatre and Christianity (21 April 2019)

During Holy Week – the run-up to Easter – theatrical versions of religious narratives abound. Across the world, countless church groups present Easter plays, people join processions and stage tableaux – and since 2010, and come rain or shine, a troupe called the Wintershall Players have enacted the Passion of Christ on Good Friday in London’s Trafalgar Square. Read the full article here.

First ever Passion Play comes to Cumbria, ITV News (11 April 2019)

Carlisle will see its first open air passion play this weekend. The drama will be performed in the city centre and will tell a story of betrayal, death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The play is produced by Classic Theatre Cumbria which was founded in 2014. John Davies, the founder, has created a new perspective of the well-known biblical story. Read more and see the video here.

Story of the Crucifixion takes to streets of Shrewsbury, Shropshire Star (20 April 2019)

Hundreds gathered to watch as the ancient tradition of the The Passion of Christ moved from outside St Mary’s Church in the town centre, down Pride Hill and into the Square. It was organised by the Churches Together in Shrewsbury group and the town’s Street Pastors. Shrewsbury has a long tradition of hosting ‘Mystery Plays’ – something that Good Friday’s event is now reviving in a small way.  Read more and see the video here.

Celebrating Easter with a real Passion, Carluke Gazette (28 April 2019)

The unwitting walking into Lanark’s Greyfriars Church on Holy Wednesday might have been forgiven for thinking the Royal Burgh had been blessed by the Second Coming. However, while not quite THAT history-making, the scene in the kirk was a unique – and uniquely moving – one as the Hamilton Passion Play came to Lanark for the first time. Read more and see the video here.


Epsom’s Passion Play returns for Sixth Year, Epsom Guardian (3 April 2018)

Epsom’s sixth Passion Play was attended by a large crowd on Good Friday. Churches Together in Epsom worked across six Christian denominations to remember the crucifixion of Jesus more than 2000 years ago. Read the full article here.

Hundreds brave rain for the Passion Retold, Daily Echo (31 March 2018)

Hundreds of people gathered in Southampton’s Guildhall Square on Good Friday to watch a poignant re-enactment of the Easter Story. Passion Retold is an adaption of the original biblical account written by local charity director Neil Maddock. It was his third time performing the lead role as Jesus after he was first involved in the outdoor passion play in Winchester in 2008.  Read the full article here.

Hundreds gather to witness town centre “Resurrection” in Hamilton, Daily Record (5 April 2018)

More than 1000 people gathered in Hamilton Town Centre on Saturday to watch the Easter story come to life. “Resurrection!” by Kamala Jane Santos was performed by a local cast of 50 in the town’s square.The play was undertaken by local churches and communities working together to take the true meaning of Easter to the streets and mark a historic moment – the first full Passion Play in the history of the town. Read the full article here.

Jesus takes children on a hunt for the real spirit of Easter: The Trafalgar Square Passion players are now performing in schools, The Times (31 March 2018)

As the nation’s children chomp into chocolate eggs tomorrow or launch a quest for the Easter bunny, some may just reflect on the Resurrection. “When Easter comes, I’ll be full of gratitude,” says James Nash, 14, who this week walked with Jesus as He carried his Cross. James is among thousands of schoolchildren who have been involved with re-enactments of key Gospel scenes as part of their GCSE RE studies.Read the full article here.

Sell-Out Crowds Watch Through the Eyes of a Child by the Poole Passion, Bournemouth Echo (1 April 2018)

AMATEURS and professionals joined forces to deliver a series of innovative performances of the final days of Jesus Christ’s life. Last week saw The Poole Passion, Dorset’s largest community theatre project, return to give five performances of the play Through the Eyes of a Child to sell-out audiences.  Read the full article here.

Edinburgh Passion Play Returns with a New Vision for 2018, Edinburgh Guide (21 March 2018)

This Easter weekend sees the return of the Edinburgh Passion Play that was first performed in Princes Street Gardens in 2005 and has become a regular event in the city.Read the full article here.

Judas Iscariot’s mother given a voice in new Easter play, Premier (27 March 2018)

A new Easter play is set to give a voice to rarely heard Bible figures. Characters such as Judas Iscariot’s mother and Barabbas will help tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Susanne Lofthus, artistic director of Cutting Edge Theatre and director of The Edinburgh Easter Play told Premier why it’s so important to tell the “real” Easter story. Read the full article here.

GALLERY: Annual Settle Passion Play thrills the crowds, Craven Herald and Pioneer (2 April 2018)

SETTLE held its 11th Passion Play on Good Friday -with its best performance yet. The event was organised by Churches Together in Settle and District. As it passed through various parts of the town the audience and passers-by joined in. It is fresh for people every year. Joe Dillon, 22, from Hellifield, played Jesus. For the Dillons, it was a family act as his father (Liam) acted the Roman Centurion and his mother (Diane) a temple worker – a witness at the trial. Read the full article here.

Judas Iscariot’s mother given a voice in new Easter play

Original Link


Ground-breaking Passion Plays this Easter (April 11, 2017)

This Holy Week as people across Scotland celebrate Easter with everything from children’s egg hunts to special church services, churches in Hamilton and Edinburgh will be taking the Easter message into their community with ground-breaking productions of the Passion Play. Read more here at the Church of Scotland website.

Manchester Passion Play: ‘Being involved has led me to know Jesus as my Saviour’ by Ruth Gledhill for Christian Today (4 April, 2017)

Muslims coming to know Jesus. Alcoholics finding sobriety in faith. Anglicans renewing their faith by being born again in Christ. These are just some of the extraordinary stories being played out in the Manchester Passion, now in rehearsals. Read the full article here on Christian Today.

Easter Passion play features Scots characters, BBC Scotland (16 April 2017)

Actors performing the annual Easter story in Edinburgh this weekend have delivered their lines in Scots. Characters, including John the Baptist, adopted the language for one of the biggest community theatre productions in the city this year. The traditional Passion play was also narrated by a woman – Mary, the mother of Jesus – for the first time. Read the full article here from BBC Scotland.


Easter Story Spectacle will take over Abingdon by Sophie Grubb for Oxford Mail (March 9, 2016)

Jesus and his disciples will have “banter” in a spiced-up version of the Easter story for Abingdon residents this weekend. More than 200 amateur actors and schoolchildren will re-enact the last days of Christ in Abingdon Market Place on Sunday at the town’s second ever Passion Play.Director Sam Pullen-Campbell urged people to come and be a part of an unusual theatrical experience.The former head of drama at Radley College, who lives on the campus, said: “It’s an experience to be part of – it’s really unusual to have live theatre on that scale produced by local amateur actors. Continue Reading here.

‘Scottish aristocrat to take Vatican backed Passion play to notorious Italian prison’ in Catholic Herald (4 January, 2016)

Sir Jack Stewart-Clark has won the Vatican’s approval to take a play dramatising the last days of Christ to a notorious Italian jail.The former member of the European Parliament, plans to take the Passion play to the high-security Opera jail, in Milan.Opera is home to some of Italy’s leading Mafia figures, including Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who is said to have ordered the murders of hundreds of people, including policemen and judges Continue reading here.

Passion Play brings live theatre to the streets of Bedford this Easter in Bedford Today (28 February, 2016)

After almost 30 years, the Passion Play is set to return to Bedford town centre this Easter and you can become part of the event. It has been three decades since a full scale, open air production of the Passion Play has been performed on the streets and on Saturday, March 26 the town will be filled with colour for the traditional event Continue Reading here.

‘Scots aristocrat wins Vatican backing to stage last days of Christ play in notorious Italian jail’ by Gerry Braiden for Herald Scotland (4 January, 2016)

A SCOTS aristocrat is to take a dramatisation of the last days of Jesus Christ to one of Italy’s biggest prisons after securing support from the Vatican. Sir Jack Stewart-Clark, owner of Dundas Castle in West Lothian, one of Scotland’s grandest stately homes, and a former Member of the European Parliament, plans to take the Passion play to the notorious high-security Opera jail in Milan next year.

One of Europe’s biggest jails, the Opera is home to some of Italy’s leading Mafia figures, including Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who is said to have ordered the murders of hundreds of people, including judges, policemen and prosecutors Continue reading here.


‘Poole Passion play makes pilgrimage to Italy’ by Daren Slade for Daily Echo (20 September, 2015)
A GROUP of latter day pilgrims from Poole travelled to Italy to link their passion play with those on the continent. The nine actors from the Poole Passion want it to be the first in the UK to become part of Euro Passion.

The Poole Passion is a biennial event that has become a modern tradition in the town. Dubbed the People’s Passion, it began in 2009 and is an inclusive group with members aged from 10 to 90. The play Through The Eyes of a Child was written to be performed in Parkstone United Reformed Church and St Peter’s Parkstone. Continue reading here.

“On The Edge: a play about minnows in Christ’s story” by Susan Mansfield for The Scotsman (29 March, 2015)

“GOT a Jesus”. My phone chimes late one night with this three-word text. Three-and-a-half weeks before the performance of my Passion play in Princes Street Gardens, the actor 
due to play Christ had to withdraw from the production. Now, with a 
stroke of timing approaching the miraculous, director Suzanne Lofthus has found another actor: Jesus’ boots were filled.Continue reading here

Staging Passion Play for 200 Years, Italians Become More Than Merely Players by Elisabetta Povoledo for New York Times (5th August 2015)
SORDEVOLO, Italy — The horses were skittish. The microphones occasionally went silent or screeched shrilly. Phones in the audience trilled a little too often. But by and large, the amateur performance of “The Passion of Christ” here on a cool June evening went off without a hitch, the townspeople taking to their roles with considerable verve. Continue reading here.

BBC Scotland Radio interview with Suzanne Loftus of the Edinburgh Passion Play:

Interview with Alex Stewart-Clark from the Passion Trust on UCB radio. Click below to listen or click the banner to visit the USB radio website.


“Trafalgar Square hosts Easter Passion Play” by Catherine for The Independent (6 April 2015)

Biblical scenes unfolded in Trafalgar Square today as thousands of
people gathered to watch a recreation of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and
resurrection. More than 100 actors took part in the theatrical event in the Good Friday sunshine, with even a donkey and a couple of horses among the cast. View gallery and continue reading here.

Two thousand gather to watch Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection by Laura Proto for Your Local Guardian (Wednesday 8th April 2015)
A squad of Roman soldiers led by a centurion made their way through Richmond town centre on Good Friday. Heron Square was transformed into scenes from the bible including the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, driving out the money changers from the temple, the Last Supper and the betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane. Continue reading here.

‘I never dreamt Havant Passion Play would be so sensational’ in The News, (Thursday 20 August 2015)
Geoff Paffett, project leader, of the Havant Passion Play was astounded by the success of the open-air performances. When we first started thinking about staging a Passion Play in Havant, I never dreamt that it would be as sensational as this.

To have 1,500 people crammed into Havant Park over two days, watching a play about the last week of Jesus’s life was amazing.To gather together a cast of 70, plus a team of 30 other volunteers to organise the open-air performance, was remarkable. Continue reading here.


“The joy of being part of a Passion play – and a national revival” by Martin Wainwright for The Guardian (April 12, 2014)
Today’s young people know more about the general topic of religion than my generation, but less about Christianity in particular. That is for the better. Nonetheless I am grateful to have been hard-wired with specific parables and heroics from the past…It’s one of the reasons for my small part in an interesting revival of medieval tradition: the growing number of Passion plays being staged by amateurs on the UK’s local streets. Continue Reading here

“Oxford City Council apologises after Passion Play it ‘mistook for live sex show’ is cancelled” by Antonia Molloy for The Independent (April 18, 2014)

A council has apologised after a Good Friday Passion Play was cancelled because a councillor reportedly thought it was a live sex show.

The plug was pulled on The Cowley Road Passion Play when an official from Oxford City Council said organisers from St Mary and John church and St Stephens House college could be committing an offence without the proper council permits. Continue reading here

“Drama that acts as an ‘icon'” by Pat Ashworth for Church Times (April 11, 2014)
Bridget Foreman pulls a masterstroke in letting us get a good way into this powerful drama before revealing that a key figure, the sharp-suited leader of the synagogue, is actually Jairus…Like scales falling from the eyes, everything wondrously begins to make sense. Continue reading here

“Thousands of people captivated by Bury St Edmunds passion play” by Jon Vale for East Anglian Daily Times (April 18, 2014)
Bury St Edmunds was transformed from the 21st Century to the 1st Century this morning as vast crowds were left captivated by a vivid re-enactment of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Thousands of people followed this year’s passion play right through the heart of the town, with spectators treated to a brutal yet brilliant rendition of the events behind Easter celebrations. Continue reading here.

“Passion Play in Essex” Independent Catholic News (April 16, 2014)
An ecumenical group is bringing the real story of the first Easter to life in Trinity Square, South Woodham Ferrers on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Continue reading here

“Theatre Review: The Edinburgh Passion” The Scotsman (April 21, 2014)
In a country something like Scotland, a yes/no referendum is taking place – “yes” for a radical change, “no” for the status quo. Many ordinary folk, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, are leaning towards the “yes” side, while the suit-wearing establishment – all spin-doctors and dodgy anti-terror laws – are desperate to secure a “no”.

And to complicate matters, there’s a new force in the land, a young preacher who doesn’t care which way people vote, so long as they reconcile themselves with God… Continue reading here

“Crucifixion re-enacted in Croydon” by Andrew Bloss for the Croydon Guardian (April 18, 2014)
Hundreds of people gathered in Croydon town centre today to witness a re-enactment of the Crucifixion of Jesus. The annual event is now in its 18th year and more than 800 people turned up to witness the procession which a number of churches took part in. Continue reading here

“Raw, lyrical, relevant: a one-man Passion play to reckon with'” by Bess Twiston-Davies for The Times (April 12, 2014)
Retelling the story of Christ’s last days is usually a task for an ensemble cast. Bess Twiston-Davies meets the actor playing all 18 characters himself… Continue reading here

“James Burke-Dunsmore: Performing the Gospel poorly would be a huge disservice” by Anita Bruce-Mills for  Christian Today (January 20, 2014)
The Passion Trust held their third annual Passion conference on Saturday in St Jude’s Church, South Kensington. The registered charity aids and promotes performances of passion plays and biblical stories around the UK. The purpose of passion plays, which are performed during Easter, is to bring the Gospel message to life within communities…. Continue reading here.

“Passion plays ‘stop people in their tracks'” by Pat Ashworth for  Church Times (January 24, 2014)
When it comes to telling the Christian story, nothing makes greater impact, or has a higher profile, than a Passion play; it stops people in their tracks, delegates to a conference run by the Passion Trust all agreed on Saturday. Continue reading here


“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. Continue reading here

“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.” Continue reading here.

“Liverpool Cathedral to hold city’s first Passion Plays in Easter week”, by Laura Davis for The Liverpool Daily Post (March 14, 2013)
Friendship, betrayal, a weeping mother and a man coming back from the dead – the Easter story has all the elements of a soap opera plotline. But it’s the one of the best known tales in history – also one of the most controversial – so how can it be told in a way that will encourage people to see it through fresh eyes Continue Reading here .

“Congregations buck trend to prove Christianity is a live and kicking in the ‘Godless city'” by Neil Vowles in The Argus (April 2, 2013)
Congregations spilling out of the front doors into the street and cars lined up bumper- to-bumper on pavements outside churches may not be the image that people associate with the UK’s God- less City. But the weekend’s Easter celebrations are a clear indication that Christianity is alive and kicking in Brighton and Hove. Ministers have told The Argus that it was standing room only in their churches as many came to devotedly mark this most important of Christian festivals. Continue reading here.

“Donkey shortage hits Easter Play” by Matthew Ffrench for the Oxford Mail (16 February, 2013)
The search is on for a crucial member of the cast for Abingdon’s Passion Play. Music teacher Sally Mears, who lives in the town, came up with the idea of staging the musical play based on the Easter story of Jesus’s death. But her dream won’t be properly realised until she finds a donkey to carry teenager Chris Young, who plays Christ.About 100 people are working on the production which will be performed in Abbey Gardens on Palm Sunday, March 24.Three local schools’ choirs are involved, together with the Abbey Brass band and a string quartet. Performers will move from one location to another in the gardens once the free show begins. Continue reading here.


“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…. Continue reading here

“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… Continue reading here

“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. Continue reading here

“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. Continue reading here and visit the BBC website for clips from the Preston Passion.

“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.” Continue reading here.

“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 Continue reading here.

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 Continue reading here.