Essex has a strong history of producing striking Passion Plays. Hornchurch Passion Play began in 1995 and has its fifth production in 2015. South Woodham Ferrers (SWF) “One Life, One Passion” has been produced in 2009 and 2014. In the SWF 2014 performances Bp John Wraw, Bp of Bradwell, played blind Bartimeus; he may have been the first Bishop to takepart in a street Passion Play. He, together with its producers and directors, share a vision that street Passion Plays have a tremendous impact and there could be one in Essex every year.
Passion Plays are in the centuries old tradition of street theatre and the Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages. Christians can come together ecumenically without divisions, along with people of other faiths and none and they have a wonderful experience. Those who watch and attend Passion Play performances can be moved to laughter and tears, have a fresh experience of Easter and even be brought (back) to faith.
The Passion Trust offers a handbook and other resources to support Passion Plays around the UK. It now has seed corn grant funding available to help get new Passion Plays started. The Passion Trust annual conference is in Liverpool on Saturday 31 January 2015 and applications for funding need to be submitted by Sunday 8 February 2015.
We hope to inspire other places in Essex to produce Passion Plays for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Basildon, Chelmsford, Colchester, Harlow, Southend? Burnham, Brentwood, Ongar, Saffron Walden, Wickford? Large place or small place? Anything is possible.
Might you catch this vision and make it happen? Everyone welcome: individuals and groups.
Any queries please contact Peter Blackman, Director of SWF’s Passion Plays, on 01245 322079 or peter @ blackmanservices. co. uk