'Original and creative way to engage with the Easter story'
Christian theatre company LAMPS Collective has responded to the restrictions of the pandemic by creating a brand new Easter resource. By Sam Pullen-Campbell
“I will speak using stories: I will tell secret things from long ago” Psalm 78:2
When Baptist minister Chris Matthewman (Kislingbury and Upton, Northants) founded Christian Theatre Company LAMPS Collective back in 2014, he expected to face some challenges, but global pandemics weren’t one of them.
LAMPS were quick to rise to the creative challenges posed by the crisis however, and The Passion stories are the result.
The stories are extracts from an early success in the company’s repertoire - their original take on the Easter story - The Passion. The play, co-written by Chris and Artistic Director Sam Pullen-Campbell, features the events of Holy Week as seen through the eyes of Simon Peter, Mary Magdalene and a young centurion named Marcus.
Between 2016 and 2019 The Passion toured all over the UK and was performed in a huge assortment of venues from cathedrals to pubs and tiny Welsh chapels. Spring 2020 would have seen the first performance of the show in a prison, something about which the company was hugely excited.
March 2020 saw the advent of Covid-19 however, which quickly put paid to live performance; an alternative had to be found.
Committed to offering churches creative resources but limited by lockdown, the cast of The Passion decided to record a selection of monologues from the show on their mobile phones at home. The state of isolation in which the actors had found themselves suddenly had parallels with that experienced by the disciples in the hours between the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and these helped them to identify with their characters even more.
They found too that the simplicity of the close-up filming added an extra degree of intimacy and authenticity to the performances, and the stories, performed direct to camera, are immediate, vivid and compelling. They were released via YouTube one a day throughout Holy Week 2020.
This year, LAMPS have gone one better, and Chris, has produced six written studies to accompany the films, making the resource an original, creative and thoughtful way in which to engage with the Easter story afresh. The language of the play and the studies is contemporary and accessible, making them ideal for outreach projects too.
There are a variety of ways in which the resource might be used.
Individuals might enjoy reflecting on the films and studies alone as a way of marking the passage through Lent perhaps or maybe one a day throughout Holy Week.
Small groups might like to watch one of the short films at the start of a session, then meet by Zoom (or similar) to share impressions and discuss the study material.
Churches might find it useful to share one of the films during a service, perhaps as a creative starting point for a sermon or a focal point for reflection on a particular theme or aspect of the Easter story.
To access the sample material, please see The Passion stories - Lamps Collective.
This resource is free to churches and individuals, with the option of donating to the work of LAMPS if desired.
"I would go so far as to call it life changing in my understanding of Scripture" (R. Dennett, Oxon. Audience member - The Passion)
Sam Pullen-Campbell is the Artistic Director at LAMPS Collective