In just over a year, the green beside the Queen’s theatre once more becomes Jerusalem! Yes, the time has flown, and the Hornchurch Passion Play is only twelve short months from being in full swing of rehearsal and production! So now is the opportunity to consider how each of us may prosper this endeavour. For those who have been involved before, a reminder call to gird one's loins for another Biblical adventure and for those who may have thought of taking part but, for whatever reason, have not come forward in the past, to ask themselves if this opportunity to witness to their faith in their local community is just the challenge for which they have been waiting.
In September, we will be calling for volunteers to visit church services across the borough to talk about and publicise The Play. In this age of technology, we will be asking for people to visit our website and register their sphere of interest for although most people only see the performers of our end-product, there are a myriad of ways to contribute to the production: Actors, singers and musicians certainly; but also, stage crew, prayer-supporters, stewards, first-aiders, rehearsal tea-and-coffee makers, props and costume gatherers and makers, scene-builders and painters, publicity spreaders, copiers and printers etc. etc. Join the mailing list if you'd like to stay updated on the plans or express an interest in any of the above roles.
Jesus said “Many are called, and few are chosen” but for the Hornchurch Passion Play, many are called and ALL are chosen. Wherever a volunteer’s talents lie we can utilise those skills to tell, as vividly as we may, the greatest story ever told.
In October, there will be a big meeting for anyone interested in any aspect of the event, followed by several Sundays of auditions for actors. By mid-December, the cast will be finalised and announced and on the first Sunday of January 2020 the first read-through of the whole play will kick-off rehearsals proper.
In September 2018, Hornchurch hosted the national Passion Trust Conference where we were held up as an example for other Passion Plays up and down the country to emulate. Our first performances were in 1995 and we have been raising our standards five-yearly since then. Easter 2020 will be the sixth incarnation of the Play and, after 25 years at the helm, will be the last that I will direct. I hope to make it the biggest and best yet so entreat you to consider seriously whether this time you will join us too.
Thank you to every body who contributed to our wonderful celebration of "Burns Night" yesterday evening. Many people have said that they felt it was the best yet! It was great to welcome back Fiona to lead us in our Scottish dancing; she reckons we get better at it each year. Last night's "Dashing White Sergeant" was certainly a sight to behold!
Thanks to all who sponsored the Haggises:
I can also pass on the thanks of our young waiters and waitresses who much appreciated their generous gratuity.
Of course, these events take much preparation and I would like to personally thank Jackie and Alan, Mike and Jane, Debbie and Nigel and Pat who all assisted in the setting up, and of course Mike and Jane Swift and their family and friends who provided all the catering and all the waiting-on staff and without whom the event itself simply couldn't happen.
I had a wonderful time myself and love to see the social fellowship that is generated in fundraising events to support our Passion Play. Please keep checking the website for future events and opportunities to contribute.
God bless, Kevin.x
What a fabulous night!
I'm overwhelmed with fantastic feedback from all the participants in last nights festivities. From the solemnity of our Remembrance, with the Last Post movingly played by lance corporal Eddie Griffin of the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band, to the rousing singalong, entertainingly led by Jane Keane and her Fairlytes singers, the evening gave us all a memorable experience of mixed emotions.
The meal was incomparable and a triumph of culinary skill! We have grown accustomed to the quality of the "Swift Family Caterers" but Jane and Mike surpassed themselves last night. As ever, their youthful brigade of waiting staff served us with courtesy and efficiency in equal measure and entertained everyone with their dance moves at the end of the evening! Special thanks to Hannah for ensuring the evening ran as planned and keeping an eye on timings.
As always the members of the committee and other generous souls spent much time in the preparation of the hall contributing to its wonderful look and atmosphere and then stepped up to run the highly profitable raffle, distribute the tot of rum and clear up after all was done!
A fabulous team effort by everyone involved! Quite apart from the fundraising generated by these events, the fellowship and camaraderie engendered by working together to achieve a common goal continues to foster the very qualities that will characterise our rapidly approaching Passion Play 2020.
My personal thanks to all who contributed and supported our wonderful Armistice Supper.
God bless, Kevin.x
Massive thanks to all involved in Saturday's conference. Especial thanks are due to all who generously hosted guests overnight and welcomed them so hospitably. Many delegates pointed this out as a highlight of their experience and those who travelled on the day felt they had missed out.
Thanks also to the wonderful Jane and Mike Swift and their family who not only provided their usual refreshments after Friday night's "Voices" but then laid on the most sumptuous lunchtime meal for over 70 people on Saturday.
Thanks to Barry and the St. Andrew's team of stalwarts who provided, hospitality, guidance and refreshment throughout the day at HQ. And of course to all the experts who led the workshops, notably to Rob Summers who came up from Somerset to lend his unique skill with all things "techie" on our behalf, to Pat and Peter for their financial and legal acumen and Freddie, Trevor and Bruce and their new helpers at the crucifixion workshop. To Alan for his work with the pyrotechnics and Laurie for his ingenious Spear technology. Lewis obviously must be mentioned too as he joins the growing list of those sacrificing their all for the Passion Play - crucified six times so far and counting...(still a long way to go to catch up with Simon!)
To the cast of "The Last Supper"; a fabulous rendition which was loved by all who saw it. We received many lovely comments often remarking on how the inclusion of "wives" and children enhanced the scene tremendously. Thank you Jack and Lily!
The whole event would have been impossible without the relentless hard work of the crew and the many members of the company that pitched in to help them as required under the magnificent leadership of our new Production Manager Hannah Swift. A masterpiece of organisation and efficiency.
I know many others too numerous to name contributed in many unseen or unsung ways, doing things like helping with the microphones to facilitate the panel sessions (Adam) and sorting the costumes (Sue, Jane and MIke) and simply being around and available and chatting to visitors.
We gave them a conference like no other and can be justifiably proud of our Passion Play community.
God bless, Kevin.
Just a reminder that a one-off performance of "Voices for Easter" will be taking place next Friday 28th September at 8 pm in North Street Halls, Hornchurch. Many of the delegates for the next day's conference will be in attendance and it would be great to give them a warm welcome and a feeling of the fellowship that the Hornchurch Passion Play has engendered in our community.
Tickets are £6 on the door and will include a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink and a hot-cross bun (if we can source any at this time of year!)
This will also be a great opportunity for those of you who have purchased tickets for our Armistice Supper on the 27th of October to exchange money for tickets or to buy them if you have not yet got any ordered.
Merchandise for 2020 will also be available to purchase or order, including the new high-quality embroidered polo tops.
I hope to see many of you there,
God bless, Kevin.x
First, may I thank all of you who responded to our shout out for more "conference" hosts. We have now satisfied all those requesting accommodation and have several more billets available to cover further guests.
The conference is a one-day event on Saturday 29th September but as a "curtain-raiser" to the big day, a special one-off performance of "Voices for Easter" will be presented on Friday 28th in the North St. Halls at 8pm. Tickets are available on the door @ £6, including the customary complimentary glass of wine and cake, and free entry will be granted to conference guests and their hosts. I would like to think that we will generate a large audience for this event and provide a great welcome to Hornchurch for our visitors. Their experience of the way in which our fundraising events also provide a wonderful opportunity for ongoing fellowship is one of the things that I hope will contribute to the whole informative nature of the conference.
I have already had some enquiries about tickets for our "Armistice Supper"on Saturday October 27th. This event will be similar in format to our "Burns" and "St. George's" suppers, 3-course meal, entertainment, dancing etc. Tickets @ £20 are strictly limited to 125 and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, officially going on sale from 09.00 on Monday September 3rd. They are available as usual by telephone from me on 01708 226117. Though obviously reverent to the memory of the fallen, this will be a joyous affair celebrating the end of conflict and the dawn of peace. The dress code will be black-tie or suitable military or period costume and after the dinner there will be a singalong of the old wartime songs before we dance the night away! So please check your diaries.
I hope you have had a pleasant and relaxing Summer and look forward to seeing you at these forthcoming events.
God bless, Kevin.x
First may I wish you all, on behalf of The Hornchurch Passion Play Committee, a happy and spirit-filled Holy Week leading up to the joyous celebration of Easter this year.
I recently met with the trustees of The Passion Trust and can confirm that Hornchurch will be hosting the National Passion Conference on Saturday 29th September this Autumn. A packed Agenda has been agreed and will, I hope, involve many of our community in preparation and on the day itself.
We plan to run four workshops, sharing our expertise in; script and rehearsal process, Crucifixion, dealing with fundraising and the council, and technical stuff and will need people to help with all of those. We propose to perform a version of our "Last Supper" scene (not on the green but in North Street Halls!) and nearer to the date this will obviously require some rehearsal. To make it as easy as possible I would suggest that where characters who played in the 2015 cast are available they would repeat their roles as Apostles, wives etc. However I may need to call for volunteers to fill in where they are indisposed or unavailable.
We would like to be able to offer to host delegates within our community, rather than make them have to stay in impersonal hotels, and if anyone could offer an overnight "billet" on Friday 28th September I would be very grateful if you could let me know in the near future, so that we can get an idea of how many delegates we could accommodate.
There will be a performance of "Voices for Easter" in North St. on that Friday night and I would envisage hosts meeting their guest at that event and taking them home for supper afterwards. I feel this would not only make them feel very welcome but also offer a personal insight into the effect being involved in the Hornchurch Passion Play has had on individuals within our community.
This will be a great opportunity not just to share and develop Passion plays around the country, but also a valuable advertising opportunity for Hornchurch 2020. I do hope many of you will be able to be involved and will exhibit your customary generosity and hospitality to our visitors from all over the nation.
Please feel free to speak to me with any questions at Friday's March of Witness or by phone on 01708 226117.
God bless, Kevin.x
£20 per ticket, prices held from last year! 3-course meal, a tot of mead, entertainment, Shakespeare, medieval dancing and disco to finish. Bring your own drinks and glasses. Black-tie or dress as a character from English History or Folklore
We are now able to process single and regular donations via our BT MyDonate page!
As a registered charity, HMRC allow us to reclaim 25% gift aid on eligible donations, this is a huge boost on donations that we have not been able to benefit from in the past. In order to process gift aid in the most cost-effective manner, we have set up a BT MyDonate page to collect gift aid on our behalf. Thanks to BT's generosity, there is no charge to the Hornchurch Passion Play at all for this service, other than the bank's charge on any card transactions.
Please click onto our 'Donate' page which will link you through to our BT MyDonate page where you can make single donations to the Hornchurch Passion Play, or even better, set up a regular donation! Please remember to click the gift aid option if you're a UK taxpayer.
If you wish to help raise funds for the Hornchurch Play, you can also set up your own fundraising page from our BT MyDonate site. Why not set yourself a challenge for advent and raise some money to help us spread God's word in our community?
I hope you've all had a great Summer. Things have been fairly quiet on the Passion Play front for a few months, though your tireless committee have still been meeting behind the scenes and moving things forward and planning future events. We have been granted our own Charitable status which has benefits for our fundraising and changed our bank to facilitate our needs.
We have been asked by The Passion Trust to host the 2018 Passion Trust Conference where people from all over the country come together to find out about each other's plays and offer advice and help to anyone thinking of putting on a Passion play for the first time. Arrangements for this are being made at the moment so please look out next year when we will, no doubt, be needing help to organise the event.
"Voices for Christmas" will be performed again this year at 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday 20th and 21st of December in the North street halls and I hope the choice of dates will give everyone the opportunity to come and enjoy this advent occasion. Tickets available on the door.
We are planning to go ahead with our annual "Burns Night" on Saturday 27th January and tickets (available exclusively through me) will go on sale at 9am on Monday December 4th on a strictly first-come first-served basis and restricted to 125 in total. The price is being held for yet another year at a mere £20 per ticket! Please get your order in swiftly to avoid disappointment , they usually sell out very quickly! This year, alas, we will not have the services of the lovely Fiona who has "called" the Scottish dancing for us for the last three years. She has become the chairman of her Caledonian society who are holding their own Burns night on the same date and of course she must attend their's. Alternative plans are being considered but if anyone out there is, or knows of, someone who could lead the Scottish dancing for us, please get in touch with me as soon as possible!
Our very own Rev. Barry Hobson has pledged to run in a half-marathon shortly before Easter next year, so please look out for sponsorship details for his "Run-up to Easter" with funds raised supporting the Passion Play. We'll be letting you know the sponsorship details as soon as we can.
Easter 2020 is hurtling towards us and we are almost at the half-way point between the last Passion Play and our next extravaganza. I trust that we can continue to move forward in fellowship to be about The Lord's work in our community of Hornchurch and beyond.
God bless, Kevin.x
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