The play used to be performed annually in Shefﬁeld from 2001, where a member of the audience once described as it “better that Oberammergau”.
At Easter 2017 many South Holderness residents gathered on a brilliantly sunny weekend both at Withernsea and Hedon for an outdoor Passion Play entitled “Easter Story”. The play was so successful that people have asking “When is the Passion Play coming back?”
It was devised by members of Christ Christ Church Stannington on the western edge of Shefﬁeld overlooking the Peak District. It was also on three occasions performed in Shefﬁeld’s City Centre, attracting hundreds of people. It is a simple retelling of the story in narrated mime. The audience stand around each brief scene and then move with the players to the next scene which is a short walk away. As they move with the action, they feel they are participants the drama: watching the betrayal, trials, cruciﬁxion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Although simply told, the play is powerful and effective, and people are often drawn to watch it year after year. Standing round the action also enables members of the audience to leave at any time they wish. The play is produced by the Deanery of South Holderness, Diocese of York, along with members of other local churches and support from people outside the church, and with permission and support from the East Riding County Council, Hedon Town Council, and Withernsea Town Council. We shall be joined at both performances by Bishop Alison of Hull.
The churches in medieval Britain started to act out the Bible stories on the streets because they realised that people were not familiar with them. These were the “Mystery Plays” of old. In our own times the situation is similar: many people have never been taught the Bible stories. A few years ago a survey showed that the majority of people do not know the Easter story. This is tragic. As well as being a vehicle of faith for millions of people, the story is part of our British heritage, which should not be lost. It has been called the “greatest story ever told”.
For more information contact Philip West: firstname.lastname@example.org 01964 603199