Preparations underway for graveyard Passion Play

Jesus, alias The Rev James Menzies with guards Malcolm Foster (left) and David Turnbull rehearse for the passion play at Houghton

Jesus, alias The Rev James Menzies with guards Malcolm Foster (left) and David Turnbull rehearse for the passion play at Houghton

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ACTORS are preparing for a Passion Play in the dramatic setting of a 19th Century graveyard.

For the last decade, the event has been held on Good Friday in St Michael and All Angels church in Houghton.

But this year the play will take place in the town’s historic Hillside Cemetery.

Using contemporary music and dress, the play tells the story of Jesus’ journey to the cross and is written, composed and performed by members of the congregation.

The audience is also encouraged to play a part as spectators witnessing Christ being led to the cross.

The Reverend James Menzies, assistant curator of neighbouring Hetton Lyons parish, is playing Jesus and music written by Stuart Clappison and Andy Slater will be featured.

Reverend Canon Sue Pinnington, rector of Houghton, said: “The narrator and members of the cast will move around and the audience will be able to follow the story exactly as happened when Jesus was crucified.”

Entry is free to the event, which starts at 11am.

There is no on-street parking, but a shuttle bus from Houghton is being arranged.

See www.stmichaels-hls.org.uk for details.