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Behind the scenes: Chester City Passion returns to streets of Chester

A scene from a previous Chester City Passion, with Nick Sherratt as Jesus

Follow our editor Angela Ferguson as she charts her experience of taking part in this year’s Chester City Passion.

By Angela Ferguson

One of the many things I love about Chester is the rather surreal nature of some of its cultural offerings.

Chester’s historic City Passion is just one such event. It’s an historic piece of Chester community theatre and it’s returning after a five year break.

Let me give you a bit of context, if you will indulge me.

If I tell you that I bumped into ‘Jesus’ on the University of Chester’s Exton Park campus recently, then you might get a flavour of just how embedded into the community this historic event really is.

Okay, stay with me. When I say that I met Jesus on campus, I mean a friend who has previously played Jesus, obvs, in case you’re beginning to worry about me.

I bumped into Nick Sherratt, who has, until now, played Jesus on a number of occasions in the city, including previous productions of the Chester City Passion and the Chester Mystery Plays. But he has decided that the time has come to bow out and let a new actor take on this important role.

And so it is that we are eagerly awaiting to find out just who will be filling those enormous sandals when the City Passion returns to Chester on Good Friday.

A scene from a previous Chester City Passion, with Nick Sherratt as Jesus

The event always proves popular, with huge crowds expected to turn out to see a community cast of actors, chorus and musicians telling the story of Jesus’s last few days on earth, including the Last Supper and his crucifixion.

I am lucky enough to have got involved in this year’s event and I will be blogging and vlogging about it both on here and on the We Are Chester social media channels. I’ve previously taken part in the Chester Mystery Plays and have to say that I have made friends for life through doing it. I’d highly recommend getting involved, whether you fancy treading the boards or working behind the scenes.

The kind of people who get involved in community theatre are absolutely golden. They come from a range of backgrounds and are of all different ages.

I’d go so far as to say that if ever there was a perfect example of why community theatre matters then Chester City Passion and the Chester Mystery Plays are right up there in terms of the impact they have on people’s lives.

My friends from the 2018 Chester Mystery Plays: (From left) Kiri, Nick, who played Jesus and me at Chester Cathedral during rehearsals

Such events are so much more than theatre. They have the power to bring people together.

I have previously blogged about the positive impacts of the Mystery Plays on people’s lives, myself included. I’ve been open in the past about my own mental health issues and how doing stuff like community theatre helps.

The cast of the 2018 Chester Mystery Plays

So, where are we at right now, in terms of getting the Chester City Passion ready to go on the road and hit the streets of Chester?

Well, we’ve had our auditions and we are now preparing to start rehearsals in earnest, led by the uber talented artistic and musical director Matt Baker and stage manager Laurence Noble.

So stay tuned for regular updates from me as we move towards that nerve wracking day on 15 April when we hit the streets of Chester to tell this important story. It’s going to be one heck of a spectacle.

For more information on the Chester City Passion, which is a partnership between Theatre in the Quarter, Chester Mystery Plays, Link Up and Churches Together in Chester, visit https://chestermysteryplays.com/discover/citypassion/.

About Angela Ferguson (236 Articles)
I'm a writer, journalist and blogger, as well as the founder and editor of culture webzine wearechester.co.uk. I'm also a university lecturer in journalism and media communications and a radio presenter for hire.

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