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St Cuthbert’s puts on The Passion of Sophia  

Rev Dean Akrill, Team Vicar of Sprowston, has written a play which provides a sideways look at the Easter story.

“In those long, far-off, pre-pandemic days, I was planning to put on a show,’ writes Dean. “Now, following a two-year wait, I’m finally able to present ‘The Passion of Sophia’, an alternative reimagining of the Easter story, which is probably more relevant now than it was two years ago.”

The Passion of Sophia is a contemporary passion play, performed by members of the local community, and the latest in a series of original work performed at St Cuthbert’s. It is written with an eye on contemporary culture, consumerism, gender politics, mental health and environmental concerns, as well proposing that the idea of Christ ultimately transcends labels of gender, nationality, and class.

When Dean was looking again at the Easter Story, he kept being drawn back to the music and culture of the early Eighties. 

“In his time, Jesus hung out with the misfits and outcasts and challenged the social and economic norms of the day,” he writes. “So it seemed right that Christ would be found on the dance floor at a time when society was divided, and a new and deadly virus was joining the dance. Sound familiar? 

“Welcome to Baal’s nightclub, conveniently located within crawling distance of the Holy Mountain. Your host for the evening is Moloch – he’s a bit of a Bull, so beware any virgin who enters here.

“Enter Sophia, she is wisdom from an earlier age; her grace is largely forgotten, but every so often you can still hear her love song on the wind.

“Sophia is clearing her house, searching for her greatest treasure. Her search brings her to the lost, the lonely and the dying; she dispenses wisdom wherever she goes, and many find healing within her presence; they strive to touch the hem of her skirts.

“Soon, the influence of Sophia cannot be tolerated any more, and the hunt is on. Time for Sophia’s identity to be finally revealed….”

The show is inspired by Wisdom literature, as well as the Gospels. “We typically forget that the Spirit of God (or wisdom), was in early writing, often portrayed as feminine, as ‘Sophia’” explains Dean. “Meanwhile, Baal was an ancient belief system based upon the worship of various idols. For our Play, Baal’s nightclub symbolises the death of innocence, as well as various forms of idolatry, including the systems of oppression, prejudice and inequality which still grind people down today. 

“The show promises to be both entertaining and challenging. Do you believe in Mirror balls? Come along on either April 9 or 10 and find out." 

The play is at St Cuthbert’s, Wroxham Road, Norwich NR7 8TZ. It starts at 7.30pm on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April. You can get tickets on the door with a suggested donation of £4.

You can find out more on the show's website here

Pictured above is a rehearsal of the play and, below, cast going over their lines.

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Eldred Willey, 15/02/2022

Eldred Willey
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