Why hundreds of people gathered in city for 'intriguing' outdoor spectacle

Hundreds of people stopped and stared outside St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich to witness a dramatic outdoor play

Hundreds of people stopped and stared outside St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich to witness a dramatic outdoor play - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Audiences stood open-mouthed as they watched a dramatic retelling of the crucifixion of Christ, depicted in the centre of Norwich.

Saltmine Theatre Company in partnership with charity Celebrate Norfolk and Norwich churches, joined together to stage a performance of the Easter story.

The moving performance took place today at 11am with a further performance at 3pm, and began in Hay Hill before ending inside St Peter Mancroft Church.

Norwich Passion Play being performed during the Easter bank holiday.

Norwich Passion Play being performed during the Easter bank holiday. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Diana Fisher, from Wymondham, happened to spot the performance while out in the city.

Diana Fisher, from Wymondham, said: "They've fleshed out the dialogue more in parts."

Diana Fisher, from Wymondham, said: "They've fleshed out the dialogue more in parts." - Credit: Francis Redwood

The 51-year-old said: "It's interesting because they're modernising the story to make it relevant to people today.

"They've fleshed out the dialogue more in parts to try and convey the emotions of what they're thinking and feeling - it's intriguing."

The Norwich Passion Play was performed at 11am and 3pm on Saturday April 16.

The Norwich Passion Play was performed at 11am and 3pm on Saturday April 16. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Karl Wright, who lives in Sprowston, said: "I've been here from the beginning - it's a familiar story but done in an unexpected format - out in public for all to see.

Karl Wright, who lives in Sprowston, thinks the Norwich Passion Play is a good reason for people to get out to the city.

Karl Wright, who lives in Sprowston, thinks the Norwich Passion Play is a good reason for people to get out to the city. - Credit: Francis Redwood

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"I think it does people good to step out of our usual reason to visit the city, whether that's shopping or for food - this is a good way to get the message out."

The 80-minute play included 12 professional actors from Saltmine Theatre as well as around 40 actors, choir singers and band members from a number of different Norwich churches.

Norwich Passion Play took place outside St Peter Mancroft church where hundreds of people looked on.

Norwich Passion Play took place outside St Peter Mancroft church where hundreds of people looked on. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

John Golding, 76, saw the Passion Play advertised in his local church paper, saying: "The actors are good and while it defers slightly from the original in a few ways, I'm enjoying it.

John Golding, from Sprowston, found out about the Norwich Passion Play through his church paper.

John Golding, 76, found out about the Norwich Passion Play through his church paper. - Credit: Francis Redwood

"The trouble is with the church is that not many visit or see what happens inside but this is outside for everyone to see and experience."

City-born actor Freddy Goymer returned to his hometown to take on the leading role of Jesus – an opportunity which both terrifies and inspires him.

He said prior to the play: "It is a big responsibility to play Jesus and bring a bit of who I know and believe the Son of God to be as the gospel story is very close to my heart.

"I hope I can convey the heart and message of Jesus through this performance."