Story of Christ's death retold

The Great North Passion

Bad Taste Cru perform with children from Boldon School next to their shipping container

The crowd watches the performances

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Derwentside & Tyneside)

A LIVE broadcast telling the story of the crucifiction of Jesus Christ has been staged in the North-East.

From the seafront of South Shields, the stage was nestled inside a giant installation, the shape of a cross, made from 64 shipping containers.

The Great North Passion, which was organised by the BBC, told the story of the Passion, from Christ’s trial and suffering to his eventual death.

Singer Alexandra Burke, who joined presenter Fern Britton, sang Amazing Grace and lead a finale of (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher.

She was accompanied by a massed choir of singers, along with other performers, including Consett opera singer Graeme Danby and Sunderland rock band, The Futureheads.

Miss Burke said: “Gospel has always had a big influence on my music. I love that spiritual sound, so to perform such heartfelt songs in the context of re-telling the incredibly powerful story of the Passion was an amazing experience.”

The event was staged at Bents Park and commissioned by BBC Religion and Ethics and produced by BBC In House Productions, supported by BBC North and The Cultural Spring.

Ms Britton said: “The Passion is an incredibly powerful and enduring story to which we all can relate, one of human endeavor, of burden, loss, kindness, hope and resilience.

“We best remember the trials of Jesus Christ by bringing his last moments to life, and I am hugely excited to be part of such a spectacular event.”

The event featured Durham Cathedral Young Singers, aged eight to 13, who showcased their talent during the performance with several hymns including Abide With Me and spirituals such as Down To The River To Pray.

Mish Kelly, director of Music Outreach at Durham Cathedral, says: “We were delighted to be involved in The Great North Passion. “The performance brought together communities from across the North-East and it was wonderful to be part of such a moving and momentous event.”

The hour-long live event was broadcast at noon on BBC One today. (Good Friday)

Peter Salmon, director of BBC North said: “When we first established BBC North, we set ourselves the challenge that our content should inspire and suprise audiences right across the region with the BBC as a big stage for Northern talent, voices and places.

“To create broadcasting moments that were hugely ambitious, authentic to their core that create lasting memories that only the BBC could deliver. The Great North Passion is exactly the kind of project I was dreaming of.

“Dozens of North-East organistions, communities and individuals, have come together, sharing their knowledge and expertise to create something which would be poorer without those combined voices, ideas and hard graft.”

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