See 'The People's Passion' on Holy Wednesday in Lanark
Jesus Comes to His People – This Easter in Lanarkshire - coming to Lanark on Wednesday 17th April
The Hamilton Passion Play has been bringing the Easter story to life in the heart of the town for the past couple of years, and this year the churches are working together again to take their re-enactment of the most dramatic story of all time to five Lanarkshire towns.
Audiences have responded well to previous Passion Plays, with feedback to 2018’s “Resurrection!” including “good to hear this story in local accents. It made the story come alive seeing it acted” and “breaks through the familiarity of the Passion story and makes one feel part of it in a very real and moving way”.
The cast comes together from the local community to portray a range of biblical characters, led this year by two professional actors; Nicholas Elliott in the lead role of Jesus and Chris McLeish as John.
Passion Plays are a tradition dating back hundreds of years and were historically used as a way to tell the Easter story to whole towns and villages, in a time when many people couldn’t read. In modern times, a Passion Play provides a creative and immediate way for people to re-engage with familiar stories, enjoy the dramatic elements and experience the story more deeply.
Bryan Kerr, Minister at Lanark Greyfriars Parish Church, says, “We are looking forward to hosting the People’s Passion in Greyfriars. At the heart of our Christian message at Easter is the story of the Passion of Jesus Christ. This is central to who we are as a church and we hope that others who feel similarly might come along and join us. We are also hoping that those who are curious about the story and what actually took place in the last week of Jesus’ life, including the political struggle and his attempts to bring in a new world order, will feel able to come along and watch.”
This year’s script is a very different approach to a Passion Play. “The People’s Passion” was devised by Riding Lights Theatre Company, based in York, who have a long history of supporting churches to use drama in worship.
This Passion Play is not simply an audience watching a performance. We are all part of His story and the script encourages us to see our own part in it. There are some responsive moments in the text where the congregation will join together as one voice, just as they did in the first century. There is also congregational singing at poignant moments in the action. This Easter, “We are not spectators. We are part of the story!”.
What can audiences look forward to this year? Liz Blackman, who produces and directs the play, says, “In previous years we have presented a straightforward re-telling of the final week of Jesus’ life. This year, I was keen to develop our work through a script that involves our audience and helps us see our own part in this story. The new script is a wonderful mix of theatre and worship. Our cast are doing a great job in bringing it all to life and are really looking forward to taking our work to a range of towns. It’s the Gospel on tour; it doesn’t get better than that!”.
The performances of “The People’s Passion” will take place as services of worship as follows:-
Palm Sunday 14th April 6.30pm South Wishaw Parish Church
Holy Monday 15th April 7.30pm Hamilton United Reformed Church
Holy Tuesday 16th April 7.30pm Dalziel St Andrews Parish Church, Motherwell
Holy Wednesday 17th April 7pm Lanark Greyfriars Parish Church
Good Friday 19th April 7.30pm Carluke St Andrews Parish Church
Entrance is free and all are welcome. Performances will last about an hour.