Passion play brings Easter story to Norwich streets tomorrow

Norwich churches, Saltmine Theatre Company and charity Celebrate Norfolk are joining together to stage a free professional Passion Play on the streets of Norwich city centre tomorrow.

Taking place on Easter (Holy) Saturday, April 16 at both 11am and 3pm, the drama tells the history changing story of the last few days of Jesus’ life.

It will start at Hay Hill and process up to Millennium Plain in front of the Forum with the audience following the actors. It will then move to outside St Peter Mancroft church and the final scene will be inside the church.

Taking part in the immersive 80-minute performance will be a dozen professional actors from Dudley-based Saltmine Theatre Company as well as 40 or so community cast actors, choir and band members from a num­ber of different Norwich churches.

First performed in Birmingham city centre in 2019, the play attracted audiences of several thousand people fol­lowing it through the city centre streets.

Norwich-born actor Freddy Goymer is set to return to his hometown to take on the leading role of Jesus – an opportunity which both terrifies and inspires him: “It is a big responsibility to play Jesus and bring a bit of who I know and believe the Son of God to be,” said Freddy, “as the gospel story is very close to my heart. I hope I can convey the heart and message of Jesus through the performance.

Passion Play script-writer, Emily Feltham, says its engaging nature aims to draw the audience into the play itself and bring the story of Jesus’ final few days on earth to life.

“Our vision was to tell the story of Jesus in a contemporary way. We tried to imagine that if he was alive in Norwich today what would he be doing, who would be talking to, what kinds of things would he be saying, who would he be challenging,” said Emily who also plays Mary Magdalene in the performance. 

“Much of life is about telling stories and that is one of the powerful things about bringing the Passion Play onto the streets,” said Emily. “It immerses people in the story, so instead of inviting people into a theatre where they sit down and they watch and listen to a story, it takes people and puts them right in the middle of the story.”

Celebrate chair of trustees, Keith Morris, said: “We hope that the dramatic performance of the greatest story ever told, on the streets of Norwich for all to enjoy for free, will be an engaging and immersive experience not to be missed. Everyone is welcome to attend and please bring your family and friends with you.”

Find out more at www.celebratenorfolk.co.uk
Pictured below is Saltmine performing the Passion Play in Birmingham. © Saltmine Theatre Company.