Cromer's 40acts of Kindness - a lesson in giving out not giving up
Babies in arms, dogs on leads and people laughing and chatting gradually fell silent as a choir started to sing and the first scene of Reedham's first Passion Play began to unfold today.
Over a year in the making, the Passion Play moved around five venues across the village and set the well-known events of Good Friday against an English village backdrop.
The story began with Palm Sunday in the school playground, moving onto the local playing field as the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by a village house setting the scene for Caiaphas's home. Jesus was taken before Pilate outside the Gospel Hall and finally, the crucifixion was played out in Ferry Farmyard. It brought a familiar story into an everyday environment, enabling the bystander to encounter the events in a new way.
A live band and choir moved around with each scene, with some music composed especially for the event. Actors, musicians, crew, and organisers all came from the locality and threw themselves wholeheartedly into the production. The actors mingled with the audience at times, increasing the experience of being part of the story.
Logistics were tricky: moving so many people around a small village and accommodating those with mobility issues by providing minibuses and seats in each area, everything had been carefully thought through in the planning. The weather was the one thing that couldn't be organised, but although a few drops of rain threatened it stayed dry, if rather cold.
The audience was drawn from the Reedham area and further afield. Claire, from Park Baptist Church in Yarmouth said:
"What better way to reflect on the events of this weekend? The atmosphere was amazing." Anna, also from Yarmouth added: "Being part of the crowd enabled me to feel like I'm part of the story, bringing it alive."
"This is the first time I've ever been to a Passion Play," said June, a Methodist from Costessey, "And I found the crucifixion scene particularly moving.
Lori from Hellington agreed:
"I was moved to tears by the crucifixion. The actors simply lived the parts and it was brilliantly done; staging it in an English village made it seem more immediate."
The Revd Lorna Allies, one of the organisers behind the production was pleased with how the whole event had gone:
"I think it was amazing that in all the 18 months of planning, we didn't have one falling-out among the very large team of over 100 people involved! We hope that everyone who passed by will reflect on what Easter really is about and understand why so many of us give our time, our hearts and much of our lives to this Jesus Christ."
See more at: www.facebook.com/Reedham-Passion-Play