Hundreds to watch Belper Passion Play

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Hundreds of people are expected to watch a dramatic performance of Christ’s Passion in Belper to mark Good Friday.

The play, staged by organisers of the Belper Arts Festival, Churches Together, Belper Short Plays Festival and Belper Rep will re-enact the Last Supper through to the Crucifixion.

A cast of more than 70 people, achoir, specially commissioned music and more than 25 support staff are involved.

The performance was to take place in King Street and the Memorial Gardens.

Due to bad weather it will now start in the Methodist Chapel at 11.45am before moving on to St Peter’s Church. However a Walk of Witness between the two churches will take place at around 12.30pm.

Organiser, George Gunby, said: “We are hopeful that around 300/400 people will turn out to support it. All the churches are behind it.

“It’s not clear whether all the snow will be gone and we were worried about it being dangerous.

“Because of logistics of stages being built we had to make a decision and are moving it inside the churches.

“However, it might be better indoors as there are one or two bits that are intimate and soft and they will come over better. Holding it in the churches will take nothing away from the performance.”

The passion play has been launched as a result of the growing Belper Arts Festival, which will see dozens of events held throughout the town in May.

The play is set in the not too distant future, where “GB plc” is governed by “The Corporation” whose benevolent rule hides a malevolent undercurrent. Into this world steps a man who advocates a different lifestyle-a man seen as a threat.

Mr Gunby continued: “I was asked last June if I would consider doing it.

“Certainly since January its been full on with rehearsals and preparations.

“The whole thing has snowballed from the short plays festival. It’s one thing leading to another. It’s brought lots of people together.

“Hopefully we can build some sort of arts economy in Belper on the back of all this.”

Set in the not too distant future, GB plc is governed by the Corporation whose benevolent rule hides a malevolent undercurrent. Lives are driven by consumerism. The people are told what the Corporation want them to know through their control of the media, especially television which is packed with “feelgood” programmes. Into this mink lined rut steps a man who advocates a different lifestyle...... a man seen as a threat.

THE BELPER PASSION is directed by Larry Waller whose most recent work. “NICKLEBY”, received both critical and audience acclaim.