Staging the Last Supper

Two men stand together holding the pages of a script in a rehearsal of a passion play.

Simon Carter, who played Jesus in the Nottingham Passion last Easter, says the Last Supper is when “the world turned upside down”.

It isn’t Jesus preparing himself for the ordeals which are coming (his own preparation for these will come in the garden of Gethsemane and in the subsequent trials at the hands of the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate), this is Jesus preparing his disciples for the ordeals which are coming.

The Last Supper is a masterclass in communication and leadership. It isn’t Jesus preparing himself for the ordeals which are coming (his own preparation for these will come in the garden of Gethsemane and in the subsequent trials at the hands of the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate), this is Jesus preparing his disciples for the ordeals which are coming.

The Last Supper is, put simply, the world turned upside down.

Everything you thought you knew about the potential in human beings for hope, for joy, for love, is eclipsed by this. The Last Supper demonstrates a new model, a new way, a new potential, for human relationships. What passes from Jesus’ lips to the ears of his closest friends over a simple meal is audacious, fearless, revolutionary. It is breathtakingly counter-cultural. And at the centre of the Last Supper? The most audacious, fearless, counter-cultural human being there has ever been.

Jesus. Teacher, leader, inspirational speaker, worker of wonders and miracles. Tenacious, outspoken opponent of religious dogma, corruption, and misuse of power.

Jesus. Defender and upholder of the poor, oppressed, and marginalised. Healer of the physically and mentally sick. A literal embodiment of God’s love.

Jesus, who saw both the conflict, and the great potential, in people. Jesus, who saw struggle, touched wounds, dried tears, showed love, washed feet.

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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Staging Gethsemane

[embed][/embed] Simon Carter played Jesus in the Nottingham Passion Play...

A stone image of Jesus Christ on the cross.

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