Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton Passion play attracts crowds to city centre

Organisers estimate 10,000 people watched a re-enactment of the Easter story in Southampton on Good Friday.

More than 70 amateur actors, dancers and a 100-strong choir took part in the Southampton Passion in Guildhall Square

Neil Maddock who played Jesus said: "Our purpose was to put Jesus back into the heart of Easter, and hopefully we've achieved that."

The two-hour musical production told the story of the events leading up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

It was staged by volunteers from various churches throughout the city.

'Greatest story'

The Bishop of Southampton, The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost said: "It was Christians together sharing the greatest story ever told, out there in a public square. It was fabulous, a wonderful atmosphere."

The Southampton production was inspired by outdoor passion plays in Manchester in 2006 and Winchester in 2008.

Mr Maddock organised the production over the past two years. He also wrote the script for the play which was performed on two stages in Southampton's new "cultural quarter".

Among the crowds, Sarah Parkin, 29, from Southampton brought her children aged six and eight.

She said: "It's quite important to be with other people to watch it, it's quite a powerful thing.

"It touched a few nerve endings and made me think about a lot.

"Especially at Easter I wanted the kids to see a bit more for themselves, it's an important time," she added.

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