Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Helping Christians Grow, Helping Grow Christians
The Passion Play at Hopewell turns 50!
The Hopewell UMC Passion Play was first performed on Easter weekend in 1963, which makes 2013 its 50th Birthday. In honor of this milestone, Hopewell will be presenting that original version of The Passion Play in June 2013, bringing the production back after a several-year hiatus.
Generations have enjoyed dramatic presentations of the story of Christ's Passion. The tradition of passion plays began in 1633 when the mountain village of Oberammergau, Germany, vowed to perform the "Passions-Tragedie" every ten years if their people were spared from the plague. More than three centuries later, Hopewell's Drama Ministry sustains a similar commitment in telling the eternal truth of God's reconciliation with man through the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ.
Performances of The Passion Play will be held on June 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 8:00 PM in HUMC’s 900 seat outdoor amphitheater. Light dinner choices, snacks, desserts, and beverages will be available before the show from 6:00 until 7:45 PM.
Admission to the play is free. No tickets or advance reservations are required. If you plan to bring a bus to the show, please contact Hopewell at 610-269-1545 to ensure parking is reserved for you.
For more information about how to be a part of The Passion Play, either behind the scenes or in the cast, please contact Allen Puy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Debbie Young at email@example.com.
Hopewell’s Drama Ministry
In 1963, a dramatic production of the last days of the life of Jesus Christ was presented by members of Hopewell for others in the congregation. It was performed indoors on a stage in Fellowship Hall, on the lower level of the Education Building. The Bible-based play was written by a member of the congregation, Charles J. "Pud" Ax.
The presentation was so popular with the congregation, and eventually the community surrounding Hopewell, that additional performances were added, and it became an annual event. In 1964 arrangements were made to transform the hillside at the rear of the church into an outdoor amphitheater.
The first outdoor performance of The Passion Play was held on June 24, 1966. Since the original days of the outdoor performances (where the audience sat on folding chairs), the Drama Ministry has installed permanent stadium seating for the comfort and convenience of those attending the Play.
The presentation, comprising directors and producers, production, audio engineering, make up, costumes, and lighting crews, in addition to several hundred actors and actresses, are all members of the Hopewell congregation. There have been as many as 400 people involved in this annual presentation in any single season. The performances are in June because of the seasonal weather.
Over the last decade, the Hopewell Drama Ministry has presented different productions each year to add variety to the ways God’s love is presented to our audiences and to draw a growing community of participants in presenting this love through drama, including presentation of a modern English translation of the play, The Power and The Glory, as well as musical shows including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Malice in the Palace, and Godspell.