We're holding our annual Voices for Easter event from 7.30pm on 20 March 2024 - but it's like you've never seen it before!
Instead of being presented as a one-man show, each of the characters portrayed will be played by a different actor - the cast list is below. Several veterans of the Hornchurch Passion Play are either reprising roles they have played before or offering a fresh insight into a character new to them while Kevin directs.
The Oberammergau Passion Play, which just completed its 42nd run, is the longest running and most famous Passion Play in the world. I saw the 2022 play (delayed two years due to Covid, like our own) and in this article, I will discuss some of the elements of this epic theatrical retelling of Holy Week.
Oberammergau is a town of around 5,500 people, located in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district of Bavaria, in the Alps and close to the border with Austria. It is accessible by the B23 highway, and a single-track railway branch built in 1900 that has the distinction of being the first line in Germany to have overhead wire electrification. It is an hour and a quarter from Munich by car and around two hours by train with a change at Murnau. Although in my case I ended up on a replacement coach due to engineering work, it is entirely feasible to do the whole journey from London by more environmentally friendly electric train, with multiple routes available.
The Passion Theatre is the centrepiece of the town and the main reason people come, but the area also offers mountain hiking and similar activities. Oberammergau is also known for high quality wood carving.
Thank you to everyone who supported me yesterday at the 'Big Meeting - take two'. The energy in the room was amazing I am am buoyed by everyone's desire to stay involved. 2022 will be fantastic!
Also a big thank you to those who have come forward with offers of help filling roles and names of potential new candidates for our musical director. It is very comforting to know we have such a wealth of talent who are potentially able to help us.
It is obviously a sad time to lose anyone from our team and we all wish Kevin the very best following his decision to bow out after being a faithful servant since 1995. He will be sorely missed, but we still go into 2022 as strong as we ever have been.
Keep looking at our website and social media for updates. We had originally planned to run auditions on the 21st and 28th of November to fill our gaps in roles, but this is looking less likely to be needed - I will keep everyone posted!
Thank you again for your support, it genuinely means so much.
Simon, HPP Director.
The great news is that the Hornchurch passion Play 2020 will go ahead in 2022!
The countdown is running on our website and we need to proceed to preparations to re-start the project.
We shall be holding another “Big Meeting” on Sunday 17th October at 3pm until 5pm latest, in the North Street Halls Hornchurch, where our strategy for the months to come will be explained in detail. Essentially we intend to re-rehearse, building on the work done last year with the same cast, crew and support network where possible.
We also have plans for an informal social get together in the coming weeks so we can get together and enjoy some down time with each other. Details to follow….
Of course, it is with great sadness we note the passing of two valued members of our cast of “High Priests”, both of whom had been deeply committed to the project. Obviously the last year may also have brought about changes in your circumstances and we need to know if you are still able to commit to take part in 2022?
We would ask that you drop an e-mail to us (by simply replying to this email) confirming your continued involvement. We also invite you to attend the “Big Meeting” in October.
Rehearsals will begin with a read-through on the first Sunday of January and a revised rehearsal schedule will be published shortly.
I will continue as director with Simon’s assistance and Hannah remains Production Manager.
The committee very much look forward to getting the company together again and renewing the fellowship which is so central to our bringing to life the great story of Our Lord’s Passion for the people of Havering.
Looking forward to receiving your email and seeing you again!
Kevin and the HPP committee
It's been a long time since I've posted any news on here but, be assured, much has been going on behind the scenes! The committee has continued to meet and I'm sure you have all read the message from our Chairman. 2022 seems a long time away so how do we keep engaged and maintain our fellowship as we wait for the shadow of Covid to fade from our horizons?
Well Advent approaches and a scheme is afoot to make this Advent a very special time for the Hornchurch Passion Play community!
Simon will be in touch very shortly to give you all the information on our latest enterprise which I am sure you will find an exciting way to prepare for this Christmas. So, watch out! Check the website and the Facebook page, and be assured that our thoughts and prayers are with every member of our Passion Play company and their families in these difficult times.
God bless, Kevin.x
Congratulations on last Sunday’s “Stagger Through”! To be able to run the whole play from start to finish, only six weeks after beginning rehearsals, is an achievement in itself. That so much of it was so watchable at this stage, is testimony to the hard work that so many of you have put in, in rehearsals so far. Shane is doing magnificently with so much of the burden of the show resting on his shoulders. I hope that his example, of being so on top of so many of his lines, will spur those with many fewer lines to get them fully learned in quick time!
Of course, the halting nature of some of the scenes reminds us all that the hard work now really begins. We must firmly cement in our minds not just the lines, but the movements and motivations that shape our characters in every scene. We must remember that we each “exist” in real time for the whole duration of the play and must not lose concentration by being drawn into watching the scenes in which we personally do not take part.
It was very impressive to see Hannah, Katy and the crew work so efficiently with not just the microphone changes and complications but also all the props and such scenery as we were able to put in place. All the crew are doing a wonderful job and making my life so much easier by their diligent attendance at all rehearsals.
So much of the play is close to being fabulous. The characters of all the main protagonists are secure. The Pilates and the Council are really sparking off one another and all our crowd are adding the realism that our “Jerusalem” demands if it is to become “real” for those who come to see the play. Our “Legion” is growing and under fine command, perhaps just still being a little too nice for a fascist occupying power!
Our Monday night rehearsal of the Council was a thrilling improvement on the foundations laid before and if all our other scenes take the same leaps forward from here, we will truly achieve the dramatic standards that our subject matter requires.
“The enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood!”
God bless, Kevin.x
Advent this year is doubly exciting, heralding as it does both the coming of The Lord and the imminent commencement of the fellowship of the Passion Play 2020! The play is now cast and I must thank everybody for their co-operation and commitment in accepting casting decisions and willingness to take up the mantle of their roles.
Those of you who volunteered as choir or musicians please keep a lookout for notification of your first meeting, which Mac will be organising shortly.
Backstage the committee are tirelessly arranging all the licences, insurances etc. as well as all the technical production paraphernalia that seems to appear by magic but takes months of meticulous planning and organisation.
Fundraising continues and our next event is “Voices for Christmas” – downloadable posters and details may be found on the website – and this will also be the perfect opportunity for those of you who have purchased tickets for “Burns Night” to exchange cash or cheques for the tickets ordered. That event sold out within days of the tickets being available but if you still wish to support the evening, we are looking for sponsors for the 5 “Chieftain” haggises to be consumed and for the “Neeps n’ Tatties”. A generous donor has already sponsored the “wee dram” for everybody.
Pre-publicity will shortly be available for people to start sticking up in their homes and workplaces and car windows etc. as we set about the task of making sure that our message reaches as wide an audience as is possible.
And if anyone has missed the casting process so far, but still wishes to be involved, please bring them along or invite them to join us for the first read-through on Sunday January 5th.
In the meantime, may I wish you all a very happy and Holy Christmastide.
God bless, Kevin.x
Many thanks to all who attended our meeting on Sunday. It should be a great springboard from which to plunge into the next stage of our play's reincarnation for 2020!
Whether you were present and signed up to read for a specific role or not, you are now welcome to attend any, or all, of the next three Sunday sessions, to join others in reading sections of the script, to enable me to listen to voices and begin to make decisions on casting.
Each session will begin at 3pm (turn up early for a cup of tea or coffee first!) and I would ask you to check in so that we can make sure you get the chance to read whichever part you wish to be considered for.
The venue is the North Street Halls and I am assured that parking in Sainsbury's car park is free on Sundays.
Details of meetings for Choir and Musicians will follow, so please keep an eye on the website and pass on details to anyone you know who may be a little computer-phobic or less tech-savvy than yourself.
Please don't be nervous, our audition process is friendly and supportive and hopefully enjoyable too! I look forward to seeing many of you again, or for the first time, over the next three Sundays.
God bless, Kevin.x
It's that time in our five-yearly cycle - we need to start publicising next year’s play and recruiting company members to make it all possible.
Speaking at local churches - September 2019
We need volunteers to speak at church services throughout Havering on the Sundays in September. Would you be willing to attend a local church and share your experiences of being in the play to enthuse others to take part? You'd only need to talk for a few minutes and potentially answer any questions the congregation have. If so, please email us to confirm or if you'd like to know more.
We will be running a training session for all volunteers at 3pm on Sunday 1st September at St. Andrew’s Church in Hornchurch. Obviously, the more volunteers, the more Churches we can cover and the less the burden of time commitment for any individual.
Please do remember to keep the play in your prayers - it's an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel in our local communities and we look forward to making the 2020 play the biggest yet!
Thanks and God bless
A quick reminder that "Voices for Easter" will be performed again this year, next Thursday, April 11th at 8pm in the North St. halls, Hornchurch RM11 1QX.
Tickets are available on the door or online, via the website, remain at just £6 including refreshments.
In this lead-up year to our next Passion Play its a perfect opportunity to get re-acquainted with some of the main characters from the story, as well as re-establish fellowship with other members of our Passion Play community. This year why not try to bring someone who, perhaps, is less familiar with the real reason for celebrating Easter?
I hope to see many of you there.
God bless, Kevin.xx
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