Around 3,000 people - Cestrians and visitors - took to the streets on Good Friday for the first ever performance of the Chester City Passion (produced by Chester Mystery Plays working with Theatre in the Quarter).

Commissioned by Churches Together and Link Up this extraordinary performance was directed by Matt Baker, the music director and composer for Chester Mystery Plays since 2003. He brought together a cast and chorus drawn from the community, three primary schools (Chester Blue Coat Church of England Primary School, St Clare’s Catholic Primary School, St Werburgh’s and St Columba’s Catholic Primary School), Karamba Samba, Roman Tours, the Town Crier, David Mitchell and Lucius the donkey (arguably the star of the show).

The performance was featured on BBC’s North West Today and North West Tonight. “Chester looked glorious on TV,” commented Chester Mystery Plays Chairman, Jo Sykes. “The sun shone for us and using the city centre as a stage for this iconic theatre performance was inspired.”

“We were amazed at how many people came to see us,” added Artistic Director, Matt Baker. “Despite the huge crowds you could have heard a pin drop during the Crucifixion scene, and it was wonderful to see so many people moved by the performance.”

The Chester City Passion was a major collaborative effort with professional and community artists working with the churches to celebrate and tell the Easter story. “What you see on the streets is the culmination of weeks of hard work by our professional and voluntary teams,” continued Jo Sykes. “We simply couldn’t do it without them. So many people have contributed money, time and skills - every single person that helped should rightly feel very proud.”

And is this set to be an annual event in the Chester cultural calendar? Time will tell, but a note should be made in the diary for 14 April 2017!

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