The Power of Live Theatre

Ben, co-director and actor in the Dudley Passion Play, described what happened during the live performance in the town centre:

There was one guy who joined it, and he been experiencing homelessness. And from the word, from right from the start. I just noticed him, and he was taking part, and I went and said hello to him, and he followed it right through, and was in the scene where all the community cast are shouting, Crucify him! Crucify him! He’s shouting, Let him live! Let him live! He was so caught up in it, he was like, this is injustice, you can’t let this happen, followed it all the way through to the end. was tearing up, and he just said like, Oh, 2 weeks ago I would have told you to do one, but I nearly died. I was in a coma, and he basically said, Up, God sent me back, and he said, I’m not ready for you yet Wayne is what he said. God has like grabbed hold of my life, I know he’s got plans for me. Since he’s like turned his life around he’s got he’s found accommodation. Yeah, he’s moved location. It’s just a picture small picture of just somebody who was encouraged by the story and just kind of affirmed a life experience they were going through or near death experience.


Marion and Carolyn, director and producer of the Oxford Passion Play, in discussion about the performance in Hinksey Park:

You watch the audience and 99% of them were totally attentive and focused on the play. Afterward people commented about the silence of the audience. And I mean obviously not when people are singing and dancing. But moments like Judas’ speech, the moment of Gethsemane and Calgary, with the cross coming round. It was also almost of uncanny. The power of silence. You’re in a park so there could be lots of interruptions. There’s the train quite close that goes by. We didn’t even notice that all I noticed was the beautiful setting in the bird singing and a couple of ducks that went cracking by just before. I don’t think you can demand more from an audience and my husband was saying, he didn’t once look at his watch. There were no dead moments and it was always so compelling to watch.


Emily, scriptwriter and actor in the Dudley Passion Play, reflected on the power of live theatrical experience of the Gospel story:

I think quite often, even if you’re not a Christian. The only thing you know about Christianity is that Christians believe that Jesus came back to life. So you kind of all. You always know the end of the story before you’re in the story. So I think the power of portraying the Easter story in an immersive and a contemporary way, in the way that we do it is that it makes it completely it puts you in it completely from the beginning. And you’re seeing these people who are just ordinary people from all different walks of life, who have been inspired by someone, and they don’t always really know who Jesus is or where he’s come from. A lot of the things that he says are still quite mysterious to them. We see him challenging in our version. He challenges church leaders because, you know, they would be the religious leaders of the time, so we kind of see him speaking out against things. We see him wrestling with his decision that he has to make to go through with it. Gethsemane is very raw and very personal to watch, because in the moment we want people to kind of almost think that Jesus could change his mind. You know he has the power to if he wants to. He could just run away. And we know that he doesn’t. But we want people to think that he could. You know he’s at that point where he, the decision to go through with it at that point is something that he decides then, rather than sort of further down the line. and just moments like that where you see of Jesus being a relatable human person as well as the Son of God, I think, is really unique to a live performance…



A large crowd watching the Dudley Passion Play