This passion play is no longer being performed. If you would like to start a new play in your town or city, please contact the Passion Trust for help, advice and funding.
This page is a record of the Winchester Passion Play which took place in 2008.
Good Friday 2008 was a momentous day for us in Winchester. Inspired by the Manchester Passion of 2006 and bringing together virtually every church in the city. BBC local radio and television, the Cathedral, the University, the County and City councils, and the City’s choirs came together too. With help from the British Army and Navy, we grid-locked the whole city and performed The Winchester Passion.
The civic authorities kept asking us (in exhaustive health and safety discussions!) how many we expected to attend? Our ‘guestimate’ was four to five thousand. In the end, on a freezing and snowy Good Friday the police estimated 12,000 turned out. Walking to the event you would pass house after house with no lights on. It seemed the whole city turned out to hear and see this ‘parable on our streets’.
The Winchester Passion had a number of effects on our city: some of them unforeseen. The impact of the turn-out was immense (that alone made a huge statement). The sense of unity and camaraderie of the event was huge. People from different churches and various streams worked alongside one another and became close friends. What was unforeseen and encouraging was how working closely with the Civic Authorities forged friendships and put us on the map with them. It seems we earned a lot of favour and respect with them and the Police. This paved the way for the arranging of other events and Street Pastors.
Another effect of the event was the respect it generated with the city populous in general. Everyone was so happy to be identified with this (very clearly) church-led event. There was a sense of resonance of the ‘rightness’ of it all for our city. Even those who were anti-church were thrilled that it was happening and willing to play a part in making it happen for all kinds of reasons (because it was ‘art’, because it was ‘Winchester’, because everyone else was involved…..).
Firm, direct, fruit might be hard to assess from the event (if that is all you are looking for, e.g. ‘conversions’) but that was never our intent. That has happened at an individual church level and through J. John since then. However, if you are looking for ‘favour’, infiltration of the local culture through service and a general raising of the spiritual water-table of the city- these things are undeniable. In fact ‘The Streets’ are pretty much where the focus has been since this event with Street Pastors and Healing On The Streets been major united missional outreaches and service since then.
The Winchester Passion was certainly hard work and exhausting at the time but we all look back on that Friday 21st March with a sense of satisfaction and memories of it being one of the most significant events the churches have ever participated in for our city.
– Ewen Huffman, November 2011