A large crowd gathered in Worcester’s Cathedral Square this morning for a dramatic retelling of the crucifixion.

An open-air performance of the Passion Play took place in the city centre on Good Friday (April 15) between 10.30am and 12pm.

Cathedral Square was a hive of activity long before that, as a giant screen, speakers and crowd barriers were set up by organisers.

Actors in full costume and already in character, including Roman soldiers and Jesus and his followers, could be seen making their way along the high street and towards the square.

There were animals involved in the play, too, with two soldiers arriving on horseback and a donkey accompanying Jesus.

Spectators who arrived early watched a behind-the-scenes video documenting rehearsals and featuring interviews with people involved in bringing the production to Worcester.

Evesham Journal: Actors dressed as Roman soldiers arrived on horsebackActors dressed as Roman soldiers arrived on horseback

Rehearsals, which involved members of churches across Worcester, started at the beginning of last year but the performance was delayed because of the pandemic.

Among the more recognisable faces in the cast was the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, who played a thief crucified alongside Jesus Christ.

Before the play, the bishop had spoken about his excitement at the spectacle coming to Worcester.

“It is really exciting,” he said. “Worcester has not seen anything like it before.

“Quite often we tend to celebrate within our churches but this production will be taken out to the heart of the city and we expect lots of people to be involved.

Evesham Journal: Actors in full costume made their way down the high street and to Cathedral SquareActors in full costume made their way down the high street and to Cathedral Square

“It will be a spectacle with real meaning and hope. Come and enjoy it and find something really precious as you do so.”

The performance was brought to Worcester by a partnership between the Worcester Passion Play Ltd and the Christian theatre group, Wintershall.

It was one of 10 that took place across the UK.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “Passion Plays have been a feature of the life of our country since the Middle Ages, and for good reason - there is no greater story than that of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”