Passion Plays Conference 2023

Roman soldiers raise the cross on which Jesus is crucified and a group of his followers and friends stand behind weeping.

This event has now passed, but find new resources from the conference here.

Roman soldiers raise the cross on which Jesus is crucified and a group of his followers and friends stand behind weeping.
Orange rectangle with the white text logo for 'eventbrite' in the centre. This link is for booking places to the Passion Trust Conference in 2022


Passion Plays Conference 2023

There is no better way to experience the Easter story than to see it performed in the public square! Join us for discussions and talks about all things relating to Passion Plays for Easter 2024, including hearing from Chris Walton the producer of the Chester Mystery Plays this year in Chester Cathedral.

  • Are you performing the Easter story next year or involved in any way?
  • Do you want to see a new Passion Play in your public square?
  • Do you need funding or resources?
  • Do you have little experience and need advice from the experts?
  • Do you need to improve production standards and get larger audiences?

Free Zoom Conference

Join us on Zoom for talks and chatrooms discussions focussed on improving performance standards and sharing creative insights.

When: Monday 23rd October starting at 6pm with talks and break-out rooms until 8:30pm.

How to sign up: Visit Eventbrite to sign up

Key speaker: Chris Walton, finance director and producer of the Chester Mystery Plays.

He successfully helped produce & fundraise for the 2023 production. Hear how his team managed to make a national success.

We will also hear from experts and leaders of theatre companies, Passion Play communities and the Passion Trust.

Key Speaker

Chris Walton has recently finished producing the 2023 Chester Mystery Plays, which were performed in Chester Cathedral this summer to sell out audiences and receiving rave local and national reviews.

Chris has had a varied career, starting in the Royal Navy as a nuclear engineer in the submarine service.  After 14 years, he took a bit of a ‘gap year’ or three to work in the hospitality industry managing people and hotels in the French Alps and in Greece.  Returning to reality, Chris has been Commercial Director of Chester Cathedral, Operations Manager for two engineering firms and a charity supporting homeless families, trained engineering teams in emergency management, dabbled in property development and is now in the ‘bank’ of NHS administrative support, following volunteer involvement during the pandemic.  Chris enjoys managing discrete projects and getting the best out of teamwork.  He also serves as a magistrate in Chester.

About the Chester Mystery Plays

The Chester Mystery Plays were the longest-running in medieval England and were the last to fold after the ban on religious plays during the sixteenth century. They were revived in 1951 and have been performed every five years since then. This year’s production was a theatrical spectacular staged in the stunning nave of Chester Cathedral. Biblical tales of love, death, betrayal and redemption were performed by a cast of hundreds with humour, pathos and moments of horror. Find out more by joining the conference!

Is fundraising like online dating?

Online dating is trying to find the right match among many differnet people. Fundraising for Passion Plays is similar to online dating in one respect: trying to find the right match for your Play among different trusts and funding charities. Finding this perfect match is the key to raising funds to tell the Easter story!

Once you find trusts and funders who are of a similar mindset and value the things you value, you are well on the way to a perfect match.


How do we find potential funders?

The Charity Commission’s Register of Charities allows you to search for free by using filters to narrow your search. (Remember, Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate registers.)
Funding Central is another register that is free to access.
For a more expensive option, you can try the Directory of Social Change’s Funds Online website which is regularly updated.
Since Passion Plays bring many churches of all denominations together, your diocese can be a good source of information and signposting. For example, see the Diocese of Bristol and their list of funders here.
The Christian Funders’ Forum is also a useful source.


How do we let funders know our project is a good match for them?

Now is the time to do some research and really think about compatibility with the funders you are researching.

You can research their online content, websites, and also Further information will be inread through their annual reports published on the Charity Commissions website (click ‘Documents’ tab). These annual reports will give useful imformation about projects they have previously funded.

A quick phone call can also be helpful in establishing contact and goodwill as you will be able to find out more about them and let them know what you do.

Remember here that one of the key elements is timing! Some funders have a set application process that requires you to apply before a deadline. Other funders have trustees’ meetings at set times during the year and those times are good to work with.

The timing of your project also matters. Some funders like to fund projects in the early stage of development, while others like to give funding when they see other funders have already contributed.

There is a lot to think about with fundraising! But Passion Plays are such unique projects that it can also be an enjoyable process. Many funders like to hear about large community arts events that tell the Easter story in fresh and inspiring ways. Not only do Passion Plays have large outdoor audiences across the UK each Easter, they are also unique spaces of community, skill-sharing, mentoring and investing in the lives of volunteers across all sections of society. They are more than a one-off performance and the impact spreads across the whole community for many months.


Where can I find more help with fundraising?

If you want more help with fundraising, we have plenty more tips and advice on our website here.

We have recorded sessions from previous Passion Trust Conferences including sessions looking at Finance & Fundraising, Administration and Practical Considerations, and Q&A sessions. You can see more information and watch short helpful videos on our website here.

You can also find lots of helpful tips and advice at The Benefact Trust here or click on the image below.

three bullet points with rows of text and images in blue bubbles with white icons for help with fundraising


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