The Bedford Passion Play, was written by Phil Mardin, a member of a local church and produced by Cally Lawrence. A cast of 86 performed it on Saturday 26th March 2016 in the centre of Bedford. These were members of a very wide range of local churches and other community groups. The actors ranged in age from a child of 6 to people in their 80s. Organisers estimate the audience exceeded 1000 people.
About 30 others from the local community made costumes and worked as stewards. Colchester Roman Society and Legio Secunda joined in the production as Roman soldiers and citizens.
Other Community groups that we engaged with (outside of the churches) included Bedford Pipe Band, Bedford Community Gospel Choir, Sound Investment (a theatre group for adults with learning difficulties), Tibbs Dementia Foundation, Bedford College Media Department (who are making videos as part of their course work of the play itself and of our preparations for the performance – these videos will be available shortly), Bedford BID and the Bedford Retirement Education Centre. A local teacher of textile design donated most of the material for the costumes.
The cast performed the play in three locations in the centre of Bedford. It culminated in the crucifixion scene on the Castle Mound and the resurrection scene in the nearby castle ruins. Local press and BBC Three Counties Radio all featured the Bedford Passion Play. Local churches promoted it widely through the distribution of leaflets in the town centre (generously printed and paid for by Bedford BID).
TV INTERVIEWS (BBC)
What an amazing performance on this memorable day for Bedford – audience member
We really enjoyed it. Amazing to see so many people there. I loved the doves too – Allyson West
What an amazing and powerful performance! The cast did a superb job and Cally and her team deserve our respect for hours and hours of planning. James played Jesus with real commitment and skill. Huge thanks to all involved for bringing the passion to our streets. Vicar of St Andrews
Wow…that certainly brings the Crucifixion story close to home, quite horrific in its message. Well done to everyone who was in it, a very emotional time for all I should imagine – Ann Margaret Truscott