“One Life, One Passion” retained its reputation as ‘The Bikers’ Passion’ when Jesus twice entered South Woodham Ferrers Town centre on a Harley Davidson motor bike. Kenton Church was the one and only Jesus at the two performances of the only Passion Play in Essex and East Anglia at 11am on Good Friday 18 and Holy Saturday 19 April 2014, which was seen by over 1000 people.
20 white doves were released, 10 during each performance when Jesus upset the market stalls which had encroached into the sacred Temple (part of Trinity Square).
One trainee Guide Dog, Roma, accompanied the blind beggar Bartimeus who was lying on cardboard and an old dirty blanket at the city wall (under the William de Ferrers School extension in Trinity Square). Bartimeus was played by the Bishop of Bradwell, Bp John Wraw. He was so realistic everyone avoided him and walked the other side of the Square on Good Friday and he only collected 40p. After pleas for charity from the Director before Saturday’s performance Bp John was pleased to do better getting £7 so was able to have a good breakfast and give Roma a treat.
Only one Bishop – ours – took part in a 2014 Passion Play anywhere in the UK. Will others follow his example in future years? Will he spread the word amongst his fellow Church Leaders?
The cast of 55 was supported by a production team of 45; the ages of those involved ranged from 7 to 80. Concerns were raised about one marriage; Mr & Mrs Pilate didn’t seem to be getting on too well.
The Play took place in 2 squares (Trinity and QEII) and walked the 300 metres of Heralds Way twice. 60 radio channels were used by 28 microphones, one talk back arrangement and a set of walkie talkies controlled by two sound desks. This complex arrangement in an open air live setting has attracted industry interest.
Kenton Church said: “It was a great privilege to play the part of Jesus in this very special production which was an act of great service and love by the community for the community.”
Peter White who played the Apostle Peter said: “It was a great pleasure to be part of such a diverse team who told the story of Jesus so faithfully. It made Easter 2014 very special for me, the cast and crew and seemingly for many of our audiences.”
Bp John Wraw said: “It was great to join such a committed ecumenical team, be part of a Town community and spend Holy Week and Easter in such a vibrant parish. Jesus met people where they were; he didn’t expect them to come to Him. Bishops, clergy and Christians need to remember that. There’s no better way to spread the story of Easter than by going back to street theatre in the tradition of the Medieval York Mystery Plays.”
Paul Hardy, Producer, said: “We are so pleased to have developed this Play so much in 2014, building on its inaugural performance in 2009. We have shown that the events of 2000 years ago, which inspired a few hundred people in Jerusalem, have meaning today for the people of, and visitors to, South Woodham Ferrers, as well as the billions of Christians worldwide.”
Peter Blackman,, Director, said: “Alleluia! I’m so proud of the cast who have combined to portray the many features of Jesus’s person, his works, his agony and death so realistically that people who saw it all laughed, listened intently, pondered and cried before applauding his Resurrection and Ascension.”