Christ's Passion comes to Oxford for 1000th year celebrations

By staff writers
July 28, 2007

As part of the Oxfordshire 2007 celebrations, Creation Theatre Company is taking the traditional street theatre of the Mystery Play and transforming it into a striking contemporary production of Christ's Passion, featuring a large community chorus.

Quoting Jesus' question to his followers, "Who do you say I am...?”, the publicity declares: "A man born out of controversy, a political prisoner betrayed by a friend and murdered for his beliefs. Sinner, saviour or Son of God?"

Following on from a modern Hamlet and its first production of The Taming of the Shrew, Creation Theatre Company is presenting The Oxford Passion from 1 August to­ 8 September.

The setting is the former prison exercise yard at Oxford Castle. Based on the traditional street medieval Mystery or Miracle Plays, The Oxford Passion is a contemporary re-telling of the Gospels, and it is directed by Charlotte Conquest.

Alreday well-known for its acclaimed adaptations of William Shakespeare, this will be a first for Creation Theatre Company as well as the first Mystery of its kind to be performed in Oxford.

The production features a new script by Lizzie Hopley, based on a fresh translation of the New Testament by Nicholas King.

Oxfordshire 2007 is the county's 1000th birthday celebration, and forms the backdreop to the Passion and a number of other productions.

The Oxford Passion stars Tom Peters, who has performed in several Creation Theatre Company shows, as Jesus. Charlotte Conquest has previously directed The Snow Queen, As You Like it (twice), Much Ado about Nothing and Twelfth Night (2005) for Creation Theatre Company.

The production will also feature large Community Chorus, giving local talent an opportunity to work alongside the professional cast.

David Parrish, Producer and Artistic Director of Creation, explained: "The story of the Passion is one of the most powerful and compelling in our culture, and we aim to bring it to life with Creation's brand of vibrant and visual theatre."

He added: "If it proves successful we hope it will become a regular event in Oxfordshire's rich cultural calendar. If York, Coventry and Chester can do it with the Mystery Plays, why not the Oxford Passion Play?"

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