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Trafalgar Square hosts Easter Passion play


Biblical scenes unfolded in Trafalgar Square today as thousands of people gathered to watch a recreation of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

More than 100 actors took part in the theatrical event in the Good Friday sunshine, with even a donkey and a couple of horses among the cast.

The Passion of Jesus dramatised the story of Easter, complete with Jesus hanging on the cross and rising from his tomb.

The show was written and produced by Peter Hutley and directed by theatre producer Ashley Herman while James Burke-Dunsmore, who often plays Jesus, led a company made up of volunteers from in and around London and the South East.

Spectators lined the steps in front of the National Gallery overlooking Trafalgar Square and others sat cross-legged in neat lines surrounding the dramatic scenes.

Jesus arrived on the main stage on a donkey and throughout the performance he and other cast members made their way through the crowd.

For more than 20 years the Wintershall Players, based at Wintershall in Surrey, has performed the famous passion plays to tens of thousands of people.

Edward Hutley, who played Pontius Pilate in today's production, said it was "awesome" to play him and claimed it was the "most exciting role", before adding that he was "very nervous".

Speaking about the atmosphere in Trafalgar Square, Mr Hutley said: "Wonderfully loving. Very loving actually.

"Everyone is thrilled to be here. Everybody I've seen, all the people that keep wanting their photographs taken, a lot of people crying, it's a good atmosphere.

"It's a privilege to be part of it because it's a powerful message and it's a fantastic company."

He added: "We live in an age where people sit in front of computers and this is real, this happened, and it's shaped our lives whether you believe in God or not.

"It's shaped our lives and it's part of our history, for all religions, for all of Europe, for all Christians or Christian countries.

"We've had Iraqis up today, we've had Iranians, we've had Muslims - they all watch, it's all part of the big story."