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Carlisle Passion Play 2019

Hundreds of people gathered in Carlisle city centre to watch performances of a specially produced Passion Play.

Crowds came together outside the city’s Old Town Hall on Saturday (13 April) for the staging of the play which depicts Jesus’ sufferings, trial, death and resurrection.

The performance was the idea of the Rev Isaac Lawrence, vicar of Scotby and Cotehill with Cumwhinton. He says he was inspired to stage the play by the county’s ecumenical God for All vision that ‘by 2020 everyone in Cumbria of all ages and backgrounds will have an opportunity to discover more of God and God’s purpose for their lives”.

He said: “I'd like to thank everyone who came together to make this happen. I’m thrilled that it went so well and that the performances were so strong. I know that passers-by stopped to watch and my prayer is that they will have been touched by what they saw and can one day come to know Jesus Christ in their lives.

“I’m sure those watching, like me, felt sadness and despair as Jesus faced crucifixion and death on the cross so that our sins may be forgiven. Then there was that wonderful, uplifting joy in knowing he overcame death and rose again. ”

The play was written and directed by John Davies from Classic Theatre Cumbria and saw more than 50 actors and musicians take part. The Carlisle Citadel’s Salvation Army band performed alongside their Songsters and the Taize Choir.



Auditions took place in January, with rehearsals beginning the following month and nightly rehearsals in the week leading up to the performance.

The role of Jesus was played by James Bober, administrator for Cumbria Christian Learning, and who studied for a post-graduate diploma in acting for a year at drama school in Birmingham.

James said: "An actor should be able to get lost in their role when they're performing. But there is a part in the play when Jesus is praying in Gethsemane and I had the real feeling that at that point it was not just me reciting those lines. There was a spirituality in it, but I did not make that; it was gifted to me. It is a moment that I shall not forget."



Organisers say more than 700 people are estimated to have watched either performance with that number further boosted by others who stopped to watch part of the play.

And for James, 41, who last took to the stage five years ago, it is a role which will take some beating.

He joked: "I once played Sherlock Holmes on stage to hundreds of people, but I've never played Christ before! Where do you go from here?"



All pictures: Jenny Woolgar Photography                 















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