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
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
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