Saturday, 24 December 2011

Donations Update

Since the last update we've had a further £3600 making the total to date: £5645 with £2500 due around 1 April from Kendal Town Council.

Latest donations from:
  • Kendal Stricklandgate Methodist Church
  • Kendal Ecumenical group
  • Managing Trustees of Gillinggate Mission Hall
  • Cumbria Community Foundation Holehird Trust
  • South Lakeland Children and Young People's Work Group
Thanks to all the generous donors!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Internship in Event Management

Kendal Community Theatre is seeking an intern, from the historic county of Westmorland,to work with the directorial team – Director and Production Manager – of A Passion for Kendal, an original community passion play to be performed in Kendal on 6th & 7th April 2012.

The intern will work for a period of between 1 and 3 months coordinating the fringe events taking place around the production.

This position would suit a newly-qualified or soon to be qualified person in an appropriate arts discipline.

Job description

The internship will be to organise the fringe and group activities that will accompany the production. It will be an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in large-scale event management. The range of fringe events/activities will be determined by the directing team in conjunction with the Intern but may include dance groups, street performers and food stalls.

The major part of the intern’s work will be to coordinate the siting, scheduling and, where necessary, licensing of the fringe events. As the Passion Play will take place in several locations it will be essential that fringe events are not performing simultaneously.

Person Specification

  • Highly motivated self-starter
  • Effective communications skills
  • High level of initiative and ability to work as part of a team.
  • Able to work independently, seeking advice when necessary. 
  • Able to work under pressure with evidence of ability to prioritise workload appropriately.
  • Evidence of interest in, and participation in, an arts discipline.
  • Available to work during the period January to early April 2012.


  • The intern will be paid reasonable travelling expenses and provided with an allowance for lunches.
  • Working expenses – e.g. photocopying; computer supplies; telephone costs will be agreed in advance.
  • The intern will not be required to pay for any production costs in advance
  • The intern will be expected to work reasonable hours, some of which will be in the evening, and will be expected to organise his/her time.
  • During the week of production, the week before and the week after, there is likely to be a heavy time commitment which will include anti-social hours and evening work.
  • Time management will be part of the process and the intern will be managed by the production director so that the work-load is planned in advance and not excessive.

A more detailed job specification and work pattern and will be agreed after the appointment is made to make best use of the skills of the intern.


To apply for the internship please send a CV and cover letter detailing why you are suitable for the position

The Internship will be advertised locally – principally around Kendal and South Lakeland and the former county of Westmorland. A Passion for Kendal is conceived as a community project and Kendal Community Theatre would want to give preference to local young people seeking a career in any branch of the performing and creative arts.

To learn more or for an informal discussion about the internship contact:

Chris Taylor
Director, Kendal Community Theatre

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Christmas Thank You

A copy of a letter to the Westmorland Gazette:

Dear Sir

On behalf of Kendal Community Theatre, may I, through your columns, thank all those who have contributed with enormous generosity to the Kendal Passion Play, A Passion for Kendal. We have received massive support from Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, Kendal Town Council, businesses, traders, community groups, churches and other religious organisations.  In keeping with the Christmas season, all will receive thank you letters and acknowledgements in forthcoming publicity.

The response of people across the area indicates a genuine desire for Community activity, showing that the decision to mount a Community Play was well worth making. As well as financial support, we have offers of rehearsal space (heated!), refreshments for cast, singers and technicians, storage space, fabric for costumes wood for crosses and much else besides. As there will be well over 100 people involved in all aspects of the performance, these are extremely valuable and generous offers, and the production team is hugely grateful to the whole community.  

In return, actors, writers, musicians, designers and techies are giving hours of their time and creativity to make sure that the show – in April next year will – be a truly memorable, exciting and above all, community-based project for everybody.

Thank you to everyone, come and see a fabulous production next year, and a very happy Christmas to Kendal, South Lakeland and Cumbria,

Yours sincerely

Chris Taylor



Cash donations so far received from:

St George's Church drama group
United Reformed Church
Churches Together in Kendal and District
Doodleshire Partnership
Bishop of Carlisle
Katy Whenray's Quiz night
The Bryan Lancaster Trust

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Cast List

John Willshaw

David Hales

Scribe 1
Richard Mathews

Scribe 2
Katy Whenray

Joseph the Arimathean,
Graham Hall

Judas the Iscariot, from Kerioth in Judah
Stephen Lockwood

Temple police 1
Linda Reynolds

Temple police 2
Liz Hawthorne

Roman Centurion
Ken Tulley

Roman Sergeant
Phil Ellwood

Roman Soldier
Sam Vyner-Brooks

Roman Soldier
Tony Lang

Roman Soldier – Pilate’s escort
Dorothy Bailey

Roman Soldier – Pilate’s escort
Jacqui Isherwood

Mary, Mother of Jesus
Janet Warriner

Mary Magdala
Danielle Oliver

Elizabeth Long

Mary, Mother of James and John
Kathleen Shaw

Sue Hall

Jesus the Galilean, from the town of Nazareth
Jonathan Brook

Richard Sutton

Liz Lockwood

Jacquetta Gomes

Robber 1 – Dysmas
Duggie Reid

Robber 2 – Gestas
Tony Reynolds

Jesus Bar Rabbas
Peter Barker


Pontius Pilate
Jeff Thomas

Simon of Cyrene
Nigel Rice

Young man/Angel
Duggie Reid

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Singers Wanted

Your chance to be involved in this major street theatre event.

A community choir will be formed to sing a specially written ‘Exultat’ composed by Roland Fudge (words by Guy Wilson of the Armed Man). This will be performed as part of the second act of the drama at Kendal Castle on Saturday 7th April.

Conductor: Anna Ridding

Rehearsals at Stricklandgate Methodist Church:

Mondays: February 27th, March 5th, 26th, April 2nd 7.30 - 9 pm
Sunday: 11th, 18th March at 3 - 4.30 pm.
 Wednesday: 4th April at 7.30pm

For more information contact Anne Pater e-mail Ann

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Last Kendal Passion Play

It has been said that next year’s Passion Play, to be performed in the streets of central Kendal and at the Castle at the Easter weekend, is the first passion play in the town for 400 years. But what and when was the last one?

Many towns in England had their own locally-produced “Mystery” plays, performed on set occasions from medieval times through to the end of the 16th Century, often in the open air, at festival times such as Easter, Christmas and Whitsuntide.  These plays represented, in a popular form (often with comic interludes) various events described in the Bible, including a play or plays on the passion of Jesus from trial to crucifixion and resurrection. They came to be put on mainly by members of guilds, or craft associations, each guild having one or more story to tell in its play.

These plays could be performed at any time of year, though festival times, when both performers and audiences were more likely to be available, were the most popular occasions.
Often a whole series of mystery plays – so called because of the “mystery” or craft of the guild members – would be produced in sequence over several days at this time, and they were great events in the towns and villages which had them.

One of the most important of these festivals was Corpus Christi (“The Body of Christ”). This festival, observed today by the Roman Catholic church and some Anglican and other denominations, celebrates a belief in the actual presence, in mystical form, of the body and blood of Jesus in the bread and wine at each holy communion service. The plays were not exclusively performed at Corpus Christi time (varying between late May and late June), though they usually kept the name.

Kendal’s Corpus Christi “play”, which would have been a series of plays as in other towns, was very well-known and people came from miles around to watch them. There was great resistance when, in 1534, the government tried to ban their performance. This followed the establishment of the Church of England, and the authorities believed that the plays helped keep “the old religion” (Roman Catholicism) in the minds of the populace at a time when Protestantism was being officially and firmly promoted. There was also a very strong hostility from the puritan element in the Reformation to the practice of impersonating Biblical figures on public stages. The campaign was relentless and some cities caved in, but the defiant persistence of this religious folk-drama in Kendal is remarkable. During the years following the ban, it was enforced, sometimes slackly, sometimes rigorously, and local landowners and civic leaders could be imprisoned for permitting the plays to take place, with punishment no doubt for the performers. Between 1570 and 1580 the plays were finally put down in all the major cities. But not in Kendal!

The Kendal Corpus Christi group of plays were famous throughout a very wide area. Records show that the town council was very nervous but recognised that the “common inhabitants…covertly and earnestly cry for the … play yearly to be had, used, and played here as in former times”. A law decreed that the Alderman might not permit the play to be performed by his own decision, but only if it were agreed by the town council. That does not seem to be an absolute prohibition, and indeed in 1600 or 1601 payment is recorded as having been made for the paving of the street “where the play was”.

But it could not last for ever in defiance of central government, and after government  commissioners had turned up in 1605 to make enquiries, the annual religious play in Kendal finally came to an end. So the answer to the question of “when?” posed at the beginning of this article is that the last time a Passion Play was presented in Kendal (for one of the Corpus Christi plays would have been on the passion theme) was in 1605 or thereabouts, ending a tradition of several hundred years.

The effect of these plays on the ordinary man in the street is illustrated by the memoirs of John Shaw, a Lancashire vicar who assisted in pastoral care in Cartmel. In 1644 he interviewed an old man in the parish. Shaw says that the man was sensible in most things, but what we learn from that interview tells us of the great impression made by the Kendal play, and no doubt by other such plays.  Shaw says:

“I told him that I desired to be informed of his knowledge of religion, and asked him….how he thought to be saved? He answered, he could not tell….I told him that the way to Salvation was by Jesus Christ, God and man, who, as man, shed his blood for us on the Cross. ‘Oh Sir (said he) I think I heard of that man you speak of, once in a play at Kendal, called Corpus-Christi play, where there was a man on a tree, and blood ran down’, etc. And after, he professed, that though he was a good churchman, and constantly went to Common Prayer, yet he could not remember that ever he heard of salvation by Jesus but in that play.”

Next year’s passion play, “A Passion for Kendal”, is a community project, not sponsored by any church, but it would be gratifying to find in the years ahead that some aspect of its drama remained so firmly in the memories of its spectators!

David Hales
       (with acknowledgments to Professor Philip Edwards)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Fund Raising Update

We are pleased to announce that Kendal Town Council have donated £2,500 towards the costs of staging the Passion! This is a huge boost to the funds but more is still needed.

One of the next major fundraising efforts is a collecting evening escorting the Kendal Lions' Santa Float on the 23rd December. We will need 8-12 people willing to spend about 3 hours walking in the Wattsfield and Collin Field area of Kendal from 17:45.

If you would like to help on the night then please e-mail us and let us know!

The workshops have been a real success and very shortly the cast list will be announced. All in all very exciting times to be involved in the project and it's still not too late to join in.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Last call for actors


It’s not too late to be part of the Passion.
Parts for everyone

All ages, sizes and abilities.
Speaking, non-speaking
No auditions. No entry requirements.


Rehearsals start on 1st December.
Burneside Church Room

6th & 7th April 2012.
On the streets of Kendal and at the Castle.

Full Cast List

  1. Caiaphas
  2. Annas
  3. Scribe 1
  4. Scribe 2
  5. Joseph the Arimathean, from the town Ramathaim in Lod
  6. Judas the Iscariot, from the town of Kerioth in Judah
  7. Temple police 1
  8. Temple police 2
  9. Roman Centurion
  10. Roman Soldier
  11. Roman Soldier
  12. Roman Soldier
  13. Roman Soldier
  14. Mary, Mother of Jesus
  15. Mary Magdala
  16. Salome
  17. Mary, Mother of James and John
  18. Joanna
  19. Jesus the Galilean, from the town of Nazareth
  20. Peter
  21. James
  22. John
  23. Robber 1 – Dysmas
  24. Robber 2 – Gestas
  25. Jesus Bar Rabbas
  26. Girl
  27. Pontius Pilate
  28. Simon of Cyrene
  29. Young man 1

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Newsletter No 1

Acting workshops started - very impressive - real talent and commitment.We can almost cast the whole play. BUT it would be good to get some non-speaking soldiers and guards. And it's not too late to get a speaking part if you come to workshop sessions at Burneside Church room on Thursdays at 7.15pm. Next workshop, 17th November. Parts will be allocated by the end of November to start rehearsals on the script at the beginning of December.

For any information on acting contact Chris - E-mail A Passion for Kendal

Music is making progress. Anne Pater is working with Roland Fudge - composer, instrumentalist, Westmorland Youth Orchestra conductor to compose several pieces to accompany the play. These include a lament at the crucifixion and a Gloria for the fire sculptures, anticipating the Resurrection. Guy Wilson - words for The Armed Man - is working with Caroline on the lyrics. Amabile all set to sing the lament. Westmorland Youth Orchestra for a fanfare or two. BUT we need church and community choirs, especially for the Gloria on the Saturday evening, and to busk before the show on Friday afternoon.

For music up-dates or to get involved Anne Pater by e-mail 

A small but perfectly formed Technical Team is about to start discussions on how to proceed. Chris will head this up until we find a stage manager. We will DEFINITELY need plenty of stage crew, although you may not need to get to all meetings. You will be essential in the last few weeks and the performance itself.

For any information or to offer help contact Chris - E-mail A Passion for Kendal

Sue and her fund-raising team - Joan and Katy, have made excellent progress. So far we have raised over £8000 in grants, donations and confirmed promises, including £5000 from the Local Area Partnership. There are applications and approaches still to be made, but the project is viable. It will be even better if we generate more income.


Come to the Pie and Peas Supper and Quiz at Holy Trinity and St George Roman Catholic Church on November 19th. And be ready to Bag-pack one Saturday. If you have ideas for fund-raising, sponsorship or can help do contact Sue: E-mail Sue

We are still talking to the Council, the Police, English Heritage about using the streets and Castle. Everyone is very supportive. One thing to think about: some people may have seen Becky's excellent work in getting A Passion for Kendal up and running on social networks. Have you also noticed that the play is on at least one hotel chain web-site? We have also had enquiries from a coach company in Warrington. This could mean we might get a much bigger audience than we first anticipated.Good news, but it means we will need a lot of stewarding. If you can help - let us know.

We have made a great start, and a big thank you to all of you who are making this happen. Keep up the good work; tell your friends; come and get involved if you are not already 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Quiz Night with Pea and Pie Supper

Holy Trinity and St George RC Parish Centre

New Road, Kendal

Saturday 19th November
Prizes and Raffle
Teams of 4 - £5 per person

Bring Your Own Drinks

Monday, 31 October 2011

Workshop 2

Another very impressive workshop was held last Thursday with the group really coming together.

Parts will be allocated by the end of November so there is still time to join in with the workshops. These will be looking at the central themes within the Passion narrative before moving on the script at the beginning of December.

Next workshop Burneside Church room 7.15-9 p.m. Thursday 3rd November.

Friday, 14 October 2011

A great first workshop

There was a great start to acting workshops yesterday (13th October).

In total there were 20 people of all ages. There were masses of energy and enthusiasm, not to mention skill and by the end of the evening  it was difficult to believe this was a new group. We felt as if we had been working together for years. Even the prospect of playing to hundreds of people on the streets of Kendal is putting anyone off - yet...

Workshops will continue at Burneside Church Room on Thursdays. 7.30-9.30 and we will be delighted to welcome more performers.

There are no auditions and everyone is welcome. We still need more actors, especially young ones (between 20 - 40 years old).

Casting will be complete by the end of November - speaking and non-speaking parts.

Latest news - £5000 grant from Local Area Partnership to add to donations already coming in or promised - but we could always do with more!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

First Workshop

The first workshop for anyone wishing to act (either speaking or non speaking) is to take place on Thursday October 13th at 7:30. The venue is Burneside Church and there is plenty of parking opposite.

View Larger Map

The days and times of future workshops will be confirmed at this meeting. These may alternate nights but the hope is to have Thursdays at the main night.

So get yourself along to the church this Thursday to start learning more about the play itself and any role you might wish to do in it.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Launch Night Snaps

Here are a few quick snaps from the Official Launch Night tonight showing some of what was going on. They were taken on a mobile so not best quality but I'll add the official photos when I've been sent them:

The youngest member of Kendal Community Theatre helping the Town Crier

The Town Crier and Town Mayor

Greeting his Worship the Mayor

Part of the display of the Passion route through Kendal

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Official Launch Night

This Wednesday night at 7:30 PM the Kendal Community Theatre's production of A Passion for Kendal will be having it's official launch at Kendal Town Hall. In honour of the occasion the  the local MP Tim Farron will be attending.

Please come along and find out more and maybe sign up for this exciting project.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Introducing: A Passion For Kendal


Kendal Community Theatre

April 6th & 7th 2012

Kendal is to have its own Passion Play next year. This will be like the medieval mystery plays still being performed after hundreds of years, and will take place over two days at Easter at several sites in the town centre on Friday, when the last day of Jesus’s life will be enacted during the afternoon and at Castle Hill on Saturday with choirs and fire sculptures to accompany scenes of the Resurrection.

Good Friday afternoon:

· The Passion Play starts at the Library, with the plot to betray Jesus.
· The audience moves to the Market Place for the Betrayal and Arrest.
· The action moves through the Shambles, accompanied by street musicians and performers to the Birdcage – now a prison.
· From here Barabbas a murderer and others prisoners are taken, with Jesus to the Town Hall for the Trial.
· Jesus is condemned to death and the soldiers escort everyone to the Brewery Gardens for the crucifixion.
· Later, in the darkness, the women arrive to take Jesus’ body down from the cross to be buried.

Saturday evening:

Audience, soldiers, choirs, the women assemble at Castle Hill to walk to the Castle where the empty tomb is discovered. This is followed by a fire show and anthem pointing to the resurrection.

A Passion for Kendal will be an original play by Caroline Moir with music specially composed by Roland Fudge and Anne Pater, performed by Amabile, church choirs with Westmorland Youth Orchestra. Kate Reid heads up the design team and Chris Taylor directs.

The play’s director is Chris Taylor and the script is being written by Caroline Moir. Kate Reid, a well-known local designer, is to plan the visual aspects of the play. Fund-raising and other practical matters are already in hand.

Chris stresses his hope that individuals and many groups will take the opportunity to work together on the play. Rehearsals and other activities will be taking place for the rest of this year and more intensively in the first months of next year.

Volunteers are wanted to help with many different aspects of this big undertaking. These include:-
  • Actors (male and female; all ages), including many non-speaking or very small roles;
  • Musicians; singers (solo, groups, choirs);
  • Bloggers and facebook users who will keep up a running commentary on the progress of the
    venture (they would of course need to be involved enough to know what’s happening);
  • Dressmakers and costume creators;
  • People with fund-raising skills and contacts;
  • Banner makers; and prominent locations made available for banners and posters;
  • Stewards and audience marshals; some of these might be in costume as Roman soldiers etc.
  • Clean-up gang;
  • No doubt many other talents would be used; please VOLUNTEER.

Anyone interested should contact Chris Taylor on 01539 727424 or by e-mail Chris Taylor

Provisional rehearsal schedule:

FIRST WORKSHOP: Thursday 13th OCTOBER 7.30pm

2011 October – November. Thursdays from 13th October
Workshops on street theatre techniques and improvisation around the major themes of the play: betrayal; trials; relating to and directing an audience.

2011 November – December
Rehearsals as called. Weekly on an evening to be decided after sign-ups on 28th September. Evening rehearsals will never last more than 2 hours, but will always start promptly.

December 16th 2011 – January 10th/11th 2012: Christmas break.
January – March 2012
Twice weekly rehearsals. We will endeavour to balance time commitments between speaking and non-speaking parts, but March will inevitably be demanding of time. Expect Sunday afternoon rehearsals, which will last three hours.

March 25th – April 6th & 7th 2012
Run-throughs; technical rehearsals; costume rehearsals.
There will be ONE full dress rehearsal in-situ, probably on Wednesday 4th April early evening – app 4.30/5.00pm.

Technical work/workshops.
We hope to have two acting workshops led by actors from The Dukes Williamson Park productions during October.

We plan to have a pyrotechnic workshop all day on Tuesday 3rd or Thursday 5th April to build the fire sculptures for the Resurrection at the Castle. This will be open to up to 15-20 people (preferably over 16) and run by Walk the Plank Theatre.