Hibs, Holyrood and nightclub to host real-time Easter play

The ambitious city-wide retelling of the Easter story is set to take place over four days in Edinburgh.

Hibs, Holyrood and nightclub to host real-time Easter play Colin Hattersley Photography
Easter: The story will be told across Edinburgh.

An ambitious city-wide retelling of the Easter story is set to take place in real-time over four days in Edinburgh.

Easter Road stadium, the Scottish Parliament, a nightclub and a police box are among the venues that will take centre stage during the story of the trial, death and resurrection of Jesus in a large-scale community passion play.

The weekend-long event, which is being produced by Cutting Edge Theatre, will start on Thursday, April 9 with the Last Supper, telling the story hour-by-hour in real-time, and conclude on Easter Sunday at Hibs’ stadium.

As part of the weekend, a new version of the traditional Easter play will be staged in Princes Street Gardens on Saturday, April 11.

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Passion will take the story out into the city, into restaurants, nightclubs, churches, parks and the homeless community. 

Artists, theatre companies and community groups from all over the city will take responsibility for hour-long segments of the story, bringing them to life in theatre, music and dance.

Suzanne Lofthus, a leading director in community theatre in Scotland, was inspired by The Passion, a 72-hour production staged in 2011 in Port Talbot by National Theatre Wales and Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, involving over 1000 people from the town as cast and crew.

‘We’ve staged the Easter play in Princes Street Gardens for 15 years. This year, we want the whole city to tell the story.’

Suzanne Lofthus, Community theatre in Scotland

She said: “We’ve staged the Easter play in Princes Street Gardens for 15 years. This year, we want the whole city to tell the story.

“The events of Easter are almost continuous — the trial of Jesus happens through the night — so that gave us the idea of telling the story in real-time in different parts of the city and involving different local groups of all kinds.

“The people in the Easter story were just ordinary men and women to whom something extraordinary happened. We are surrounded by similar stories in our everyday lives, we just don’t always see them.

“A lot of my work is with those who find themselves more on the sidelines, whether that’s adults with additional support needs or people in prisons. I’m aware of how often we box people in and create barriers.

“This project is about tearing down those barriers, celebrating our humanity and seeing how powerful and inspiring it is when we leave those differences behind and work together.

“Someone described the project as a tapestry — it may look messy behind the scenes but when you weave it together, it creates something beautiful.”

There are still lots of opportunities to get involved in the production.

Ms Lofthus added: “We’re looking for groups to be part of the Edinburgh Passion and take an hour of the story and interpret it through any art form they want — music, drama, visual art, surprise us.

“Everyone is welcome. Those already involved range from arts professionals to the homeless and marginalised. This is one of the greatest stories ever told, everyone can find a place in it.

“We are also looking for people to be part of a large community cast who can be involved in different parts of the story around the city, almost like theatrical flash-mobs. It’s a great chance to be involved in a large-scale site-specific production.

“No acting experience or faith background is necessary — just bring your enthusiasm. One of the biggest messages of the Easter story is ‘do not judge’.

“This is about showing what can be achieved when we lay aside our preconceived judgements and work together.”

For more information and to get involved, email hello@edinburghpassion.com.