New script rises for Easter

Mar 30 2018 | By More

Fresh take for annual Easter play

The two thousand year-old story of Easter is getting a fresh take in the brand new Passion Play which will be performed in Edinburgh city centre on Easter weekend.

The Edinburgh Easter Play will be performed in Princes Street Gardens West on Saturday 31 March at 2pm. It has become an annual event in the city, with an audience that often numbers more than a thousand people.

Edinburgh Easter Play 2017

This year’s play is being staged with a community cast who come from all faith backgrounds and none. They are led by professional actor, Duncan Rennie, playing Jesus, and it is being directed by Suzanne Lofthus, artistic director of Cutting Edge Theatre

The twist to this year’s script is it is a new version created by the actors themselves, bringing to the fore some of the characters who are on the fringes of the traditional story.

Characters such as Mary Magdalene, Simon the Zealot (one of the disciples) and Judas, who betrays Jesus, all play a part in telling the story. Anna, the mother of Judas, a new character devised by one of the cast, takes a key role alongside Mary, the Mother of Jesus.


Director Suzanne Lofthus says: “I’m interested in some of the characters in the story whose voices are not normally heard. Some of the actors are very strong and have been doing the play for a long time, so I wanted them to have more input than just learning their parts from a script.

A scene from Edinburgh Easter Play 2017

“We have devised the play in rehearsals using ideas put forward by the cast. We’re thinking outside the box, looking at new ways of telling the story using movement and visual imagery as well as more traditional acting.

“The story of Easter is one of the greatest stories in the world and there are lots of ways to tell it. You might think you’ve seen it before, but you haven’t seen it done like this!”

Since the Easter Play was first performed in Princes Street Gardens in 2005, the story has been told many different ways. In 2014, crowds of around 2,000 gathered to watch The Edinburgh Passion, a retelling of the story set in post-devolution Scotland by playwright Rob Drummond. Last year, the production was a large-scale traditional Passion Play by Kamala Maniam.

Rev Mike Frew, chairman of the Princes Street Easter Play Trust, said: “Having a free promenade production telling the story of Jesus in Princes Street Gardens has become a popular part of Easter in Edinburgh. It’s important to keep telling the story, but also to find new ways of telling it, and new ways of making it come alive for a contemporary audience.”


The Edinburgh Easter Play
Princes Street Gardens West, Princes Street, EH2 2HG
Saturday 31 March 2018
Afternoon: 2pm.
Free, un-ticketed.


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