Praying for a dry day for Good Friday starts sometime after Christmas; around the same time I start praying for someone to play Jesus in our annual pageant of the Passion in Martyr Worthy. Both prayers were brilliantly answered today, with a swelteringly hot day and a magnificent performance by James Young as Jesus, with a voice ringing out across Church Lane, as it must once have done across a parade ground! Which was a good thing given the large numbers of people who attended – not sure if it was 150 or 200 but anyway St Swithun’s church was completely packed out.
Casting every year is always a challenge, but a good opportunity to contact people and I am so grateful to all of you who responded so quickly to my initial emails to let me know whether you would be available this year. Getting a quick response is such a great help!
As we only effectively have one rehearsal on the morning of the event, it always surprises me how brilliantly Sonia Cragg manages to organise us into a coherent display, which is so moving for so many people. Thank you Sonia, you were, as always, calm and good humoured throughout! Thank you to John Dover coming in at the last moment to play the organ and lead our singing up the hill.
Thank you so much to all our actors. In particular, thank you to the Barber family recently moved into Martyr Worthy for covering five roles (making the casting director very happy) and bringing lots of friends with them.
Thank you to: LLM Gerry Stacey (Narrator), James Young (Jesus), James Cheesman (Peter), Harry Barber (James), Ben Barber (Judas), Maximilian Terhalle (Disciple 1), Tim Clapp (Disciple 2), Jonny Cragg (Disciple 3) and John Barber (Disciple 4), Andy Tan (Centurion), Scot Johnston (Roman Soldier 1), William Stubbs (Roman Soldier 2), Rob de Laszlo (Roman Soldier 3), Edward Mortimer (Roman Soldier 4), Christopher Burness (Pilate), Portia Fellows (Pilates Wife), Geoffrey Burnand (Caiaphas), Marina Pease (Priest 1), Hannah Barber (Priest 2), Poppy de Laszlo (Priest 3), Lee Tovell (Barabbas), Katherine Impey (Servant 1), Lucy Pease (Servant 2), Susie Brine, Pauline Tovell and Sue Kennedy (Women of Jerusalem), Brigid McManus (Mary mother of Jesus), Kelly Gibson (Mary Magdalene), Iain Macleod (Simon of Cyrene) and Andrew Impey (Joseph of Arimathea).
Thank you so much to Liz Platt and your team of Gilly Greenwood, Angela Wheeler, Amanda Seymour and Lucinda Ffennell who organised our coffee/tea and hot cross buns – very delicious.
Thank you as always to Simon Ffennell for organising parking and a lot of the background work in advance of the day and to all our neighbours in Church Lane for letting us rampage over their drives and gardens for another year. Thank you to Winchester Council for postponing sending the bin men down the lane at the critical point!
The Church is the body which tells this gospel story anew in each generation. Thank you so much for taking part in doing so again this year.