What is a Passion Play?

Actors portraying Jesus and two others are hung on a cross. Photo set against the West Pier on Brighton seafront during a Passion Play that took place at Easter in 2011

A Passion Play is a free performance of the Easter story. ‘The greatest story ever told’ is brought to life in large, outdoor performances for people of all ages.

A Passion Play dramatises the events of the last week of Jesus’ life, depicting the events that led up to his crucifixion. Many Passion Plays today also featuring a dramatic portrayal of Jesus’ life. This includes his teachings and miracles, and his resurrection to show the context in which his death took place.

Passion Plays use theatre to bring the words of the Gospel to life in new, often vivid and startling, ways. They show how the message of second chances, forgiveness and new opportunities. Large community casts are a vital part of these performances which have the potential to speak life and hope into communities struggling with poverty, crime, addiction or hopelessness and boredom.

A Passion Play is a dramatic portrayal of the real story of Easter as told in the Bible. It has all the elements of stories that are compelling and confronting: treachery, betrayal, injustice, sacrifice, redemption and a startling ending. As Passion Plays dramatize the story of Easter, they allow it to speak again to new audiences in new contexts.

What do people say about Passion Plays?

Blown away. You guys always put on a good show- but this? This was something else. Haven’t stopped taking about it since Tuesday. My children got so much out of it too. Loved that not only did you perform on the streets of the city centre, but that you actually SET it in Birmingham, using local landmarks. Alan, Birmingham

I found the whole experience exciting, emotional and spiritually uplifting and compelling – it’s created a wonderful memory of working with a great group of people and a great enterprise that will endure for a long time. Anon, Carlisle

Managed to follow the whole play with 2 children (6 and 10) so powerful and engaging. We were on the second performance at the cathedral – worth the wait as we couldn’t get in as it was full. Children truly enjoyed and message was so clear presented. Great to have the Contemporary touch!  Cassandra, Birmingham

Two men in black drag Jesus to the cross while a crowd watches. Two other men are on crosses on either side of him during the Stafford Passion Play.

Is your Passion Play Anti-Semitic?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You may be aware of the dreadful history of anti-semitism...

Jesus in a white robe stands with the whole cast and crew of Brighton Passion Play after the free performance on Good Friday.

Further reading about Passion Plays

Here are two book recommendations if you are thinking of...