CAPTION: Father Daniel French has 35 actors taking part in the mystery play

Easter mystery play going ahead despite coronavirus restrictions

Posted: 3rd April, 2020

A Devon vicar is planning to go ahead with a group performance of a traditional Easter passion play despite the coronavirus restrictions, by turning it into an audio play instead.

Father Daniel French, vicar of Salcombe and Marlborough, said: “Six years ago a number of us in Salcombe performed a medieval mystery play on Good Friday around the town in the style of pop-up theatre.

“In the light of coronavirus a lot of people have been extra imaginative and so I have begun the process of redoing this play in audio form.”

Fr French said Salcombe had an active “am-dram” scene and he already had around 35 volunteer actors for the production.

“Nobody is going to have to meet up for this.  Each actor will receive their script and say their lines into a smartphone and then email it to me.

“We will then merge the sound files, add some special effects and make it sound as if the actors are in the same room.”

The play was previously performed around Salcombe

The play is full of Biblical characters including Adam and Eve, Mrs Noah, John the Baptist and Pontius Pilate.

Fr French said the new script would be longer than the original and include topical scenes including Cain and Abel fighting over a USB stick, Noah’s lockdown in the ark with “lagging wifi” and the search for the three wise men in Salcombe.

Fr French used to work in IT which means he is comfortable with the technology needed to produce the play.

He said: “This is partly about keeping people’s spirits up.

“The forecast is that the next few weeks are going to be tough as the lockdown gets harder.

More fundamentally this is about sharing the greatest story ever told.

Fr French livestreams Holy Communion every day

“Medieval mystery plays mix the profound with the comical, the cosmic with “in town” jokes. They make the Gospel accessible, disarming and thought provoking.

The finished play will be uploaded to the website here and shared on facebook/ An extract is also due to be broadcast on BBC Radio Devon on Easter Sunday.

As well as producing passion plays Father French is also broadcasting a service of Holy Communion every day at 1000