Hornchurch’s Easter weekend passion play returns

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:47 02 March 2015

Simon Pugsley, as Jesus, in the 2011 performance of the passion play.

Simon Pugsley, as Jesus, in the 2011 performance of the passion play.


The dramatic last few weeks of Jesus’ life will be brought to life by an amateur cast on the green, on Billet Lane.

Written and directed by Kevin Walsh, the play opens with Jesus’ return to Jerusalem and includes a dramatic portrayal of his crucifixion.

Newcomers may get a shock, as audience members often jump up to join in with the performance and Roman soldiers push and bully the crowd.

This audience involvement is designed to make people view Jesus’ message in a contemporary context.

Despite being made up entirely of volunteers, the performers have promised a full-on, professional production.

The volunteers need to raise £35,000 to produce the play, and ensure it is the best yet.

All the volunteers from the Passion Play committee are helping raise money through quiz nights, murder mysteries and church donations.

Most cast members have full-time jobs, however they put all of their passion and energy into the production.

Leader of the committee, Simon Pugsley, works as a bank manager.

He said: “I love the show, the turnout is always very good and I’ve always had a passion for acting, mainly in church shows.”

Simon will reprise the lead role of Jesus from 2011’s Passion Play.

He continued: “It’s always interesting playing Jesus.

“People have their set opinions of him so I have to try to mimic them, following all the stereotypes.”

The show originally began in 1995, continuing roughly every five years over the Easter weekend. The last Passion Play received its biggest turnout, with thousands attending the three performances.

There is still time to get involved with the show as a steward or prayer supporter.

Visit the website,, to find out more.

The play will be performed at 7.30pm on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday – April 3, 4 and 5.

The performances are free.

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