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Leicester: crowds flock to passionate Easter drama

Crowds of thousands braved Good Friday’s cold weather to witness Leicester’s Christ in the Centre event, and were rewarded with a passionate retelling of the Easter story ...

Crowds of thousands braved Good Friday’s cold weather to witness Leicester’s Christ in the Centre event, and were rewarded with a passionate retelling of the Easter story.

Christ in the Centre has been staged annually in the middle of Leicester since 2003, the style of the performance helping set the template for many similar events across the country.

This year’s event was again staged in Humberstone Gate, the largest pedestrian area in the city centre, but included a number of key changes from previous years’ events.

In the past the cast has normally been led by a professional in the role of Jesus, but this year the 40-strong cast were all local amateurs, led by Nathan Obokoh who played the role of Jesus.

The performance also made much greater use of music, and presented an extended version of the play The First Easter, for which author Meg Harper had written several new scenes especially for the Leicester event.

The final change was a move to two performances. In the past the event has been staged once during the morning. This year organisers agreed to a second show in the afternoon, a move that was welcomed by many people who attend their own church’s events on Good Friday morning.

Organisers estimate that a crowd of more than 6,000 attended the morning performance, with some 2,500 attending in the afternoon.

Rev Stephen Foster, joint chair of the event’s organising committee, says: “We are delighted so many thousand people joined us in the centre of Leicester to witness the first in a ‘new breed’ of Christ in the Centre performances.

“We have already had many positive comments about the event, reflecting on a range of emotions – sometimes poignant, sometimes dramatic and sometimes reflective. Our cast did a wonderful job of bringing Meg Harper’s text to life”.

The event is entirely funded by grants and donations, and organisers are appealing for anyone who attended the event to consider contributing to its funds. Donations can be made to Jonathan Cryer, CitC Treasurer, 4 Honeybourne Close, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5JP. Cheques should be made out to “Christ in the Centre”.

PHOTOS

Above: Nathan Obokoh (as Jesus)

Top right: Leading characters (from left) Bill Matthews as Caiaphas, Nathan Obokoh as Jesus, Christian Obokoh as Peter, Odeh Akatu as Judas

Right: Becky Magee (Mary Magdalene) greets the risen Jesus

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