Record crowds watch The Wonder Christmas show
PUBLISHED: 09:42 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:11 18 December 2019
A church has grand plans to attract thousands more people to its festive spectacular next year after a record-breaking crowd this year.
SOUL Church on Mason Road, Norwich, put on its free family show, The Wonder, for the fifth year.
It attracted over 10,000 people to its 14 shows which were performed across two weekends for the first time.
Pastor Jon Norman, co-founder of SOUL Church, said he had ambitions to attract between 4,000 and 5,000 more people across next year's performances of The Wonder which would continue over two weekends.
Mr Norman, 41, who co-founded the church in 2014 with his wife Chantel, said: "This year's show went above and beyond anything we could have imagined. About 300 volunteers were involved per show to help set it up. We are so grateful for everything they did.
"The Wonder brings a sense of community. It means families can get together at Christmas. One of the greatest gifts we can bring is the gift of memories."
The audience included people from across Norfolk, Suffolk and as far as Colchester and London, according to Mr Norman.
He added that there was a great sense of camaraderie within the cast and production crew who were are all volunteers and ranged from youngsters aged seven up to people in their 70s.
"To do the show 14 times is highly commendable," Mr Norman added.
The pastor, who is also chaplain of Norwich City Football Club, said SOUL Church wanted to put on two extra shows next Christmas as well as remove some of the walls in the church room where it is held to boost the production.
This year's 85-minute musical show included popular children's television and film characters but it also focused on the traditional Christmas story of Jesus Christ.
It is hoped that in 2021 the performance will be held at the new £7m venue of SOUL Church which will be built on Heartsease Lane, Norwich.
It moved to Mason Road from Heartsease Lane after the former Mount Zion Family Life Centre, renamed SOUL Church, was burnt down in February 2006 after being struck by lightning.
A shortened version of The Wonder will be performed before the Norwich City home match against Wolves on Saturday, December 21.