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Cumbrian churches’ missional outreach through theatre

Cumbrian churches have teamed up with a touring theatre company to reach out in new ways.

Roughshod Theatre CompanyRoughshod Theatre Company is part of the independent Riding Lights Theatre Company which has its roots in the Christian ethos.

And this week five actors from Roughshod are taking part in a series of performances in Carlisle at the invitation of The Way Church, the University of Cumbria Chaplaincy team and the Church of Scotland’s Border Kirk.

The Rev Matthew Firth said: “We recognise that we always need to look at how we can reach out to new audiences in new ways and this is a perfect way to do it.

“We had previously seen examples of performances of Roughshod’s performances which are full of energy and vitality and really clever use of props.

“We recently watched them performing a five minute sketch about Zacchaeus. They used a decorator’s scaffolding to act as both the tax collectors’ tables and the tree which he climbed up. It was fast paced, very clever and a brilliant example of how best to use drama to reach out.

“Drama, comedy, poetry and sketches are a great way to strengthen the missional aspect of our work and to spread the Gospel message.”

As well as performances at Trinity School, Newman School and the Richard Rose Central Academy, Roughshod are also to perform a new work called IrRESISTtible at the Border Kirk Church of Scotland.

The drama – staged in partnership with the charity Open Doors, which supports persecuted Christians across the world - draws on individual stories from the cast as well as from a life-style guru whose advice goes too far through to the experiences of a bible smuggler.

Mark Fromings, an actor with Roughshod said: “IrRESISTible focuses on some wonderful examples of resistance against injustice.

“It’s wonderful to be able to perform in theatre while also sharing what we know of God too.”

Roughshod will also perform at a regular student dinner in the University of Cumbria on Wednesday evening which is provided by members of The Way Church.

The Rev Matthew FirthMatthew added: “Using the arts to promote the Christian message is a great way to engage and challenge new people.

“We’re delighted that Roughshod are with us for the week as we look to spread the Gospel message as widely as we can.”

IrRESISTible will be performed at the Border Kirk Church of Scotland in Chapel Street, Carlisle on Thursday 23 April from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £7 and £5 for concessions and are available by contacting 01228 591757, visiting Carlisle Tourist Information or Doves Café, Church of Scotland.

And next week the Roughshod team will be based in Kirkby Lonsdale for another week of performance and outreach.

That will begin with a community event at Kirkby Lonsdale Methodist Church on Sunday 26 April from 7pm to 9pm. Tickets are £5 and can be ordered via 015242 72843.

There will be a further performance of IrRESISTible on Thursday 30 April at 7.30pm at St Thomas Church, Stricklandgate, Kendal. Tickets are free with donations welcomed.


Notes to editors
For more about IrRESISTible please go to


For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at

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