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Ely Catherdral


13 April 2014 6:30pm

2 March 2014

On Sunday, 13 April 2014 (Palm Sunday), at 6.30 pm, Ely Cathedral will host the first performance of a newly created work, Passion - a contemporary journey to the cross, created and directed by dance artist, writer and theologian Claire Henderson Davis. This innovative project brings together five artists in a contemporary re-imagining of the Stations of the Cross as a pilgrimage through the darker potential of human relationships.

Passiontells the story of the last hours of Jesus' life, starting with his being condemned to death by Pontius Pilate and ending with his resurrection on Easter Sunday - a narrative which lies at the heart of Christian faith. Malcolm Guite's acclaimed series of 15 sonnets on the Stations of the Cross, published in his book Sounding the Seasons(Canterbury Press, 2012), provide the framework, while the two dancers, Claire Henderson Davis and Cecil Rowe, embody each Station, and musicians Jan Payne and Dan Forshaw improvise on the oboe and saxophone, adding a third voice to the rich texture of this piece. But there will be no cross or first century dress. This is a thoroughly modern re-imagining in which the bodies of the dancers tell the story, become the cross, play each character in the narrative. While Malcolm's poems hold us within the familiar stages of the story in a thoroughly contemporary way, the dance offers new images for how this story might look today.

The Stations will move around three different locations in Ely Cathedral, creating a pilgrimage through this ancient site of prayer, offering an alternative liturgy for Palm Sunday. The congregation plays a key role in this event as the crowd, the bystanders, the onlookers, roles we all play at different moments in our lives. By moving around the Cathedral, everyone present becomes a participant, caught up in the story, following the path of Jesus to his death, hoping for a resurrection, invited to identify with the different characters- Veronica, Simon, Mary, Pontius Pilate, the soldiers, the disciples - while being offered a radically new way of imagining this familiar tale. Seating will be provided at each location for elderly or infirm worshippers, so nobody should feel excluded or unable to attend.

The performance will be offered as part of the new Space@6.30 initiative at Ely Cathedral. This new initiative aims to present a diversity of worship once a month, open to anyone, particularly those who might not otherwise attend a service in the Cathedral.

Commenting on Passion, Canon Alan Hargrave (Canon Missioner at Ely Cathedral) said:

'Palm Sunday is a great turning point in the Gospel, when Jesus moves from being the one adored by crowds to the one who will be rejected, betrayed, tortured and crucified. On this momentous day we are thrilled to have in the Cathedral such a brilliant, creative dynamic of poetry, dance and music, performed by professional artists, to take us, experientially, through the Passion of Christ. If you only go to one thing in Holy Week, let this be it.'

"Passion" has been generously sponsored by Jerusalem Trust and the Sir Halley Stewart Trust grants and other private donations.

Anyone is welcome to attend and there will be no charge for admission.

Note to editors:

Further information about the creation of "Passion"can be had by contacting:

Claire Henderson Davis 07779579755

Further information about Space@6.30 at Ely Cathedral can be had by contacting:

Jan Payne moc/liamg//enyapmnaj or 07780 674563