One only performance of a new passion Play, They Crucified Him, is to be performed on the Saturday before Palm Sunday (28 March) in the beautiful, natural amphitheatre of Villa Maria Winery in Auckland.

Supported by the Auckland Catholic Diocese under the auspices of Bishop Pat Dunn, the southern parishes of the Auckland Diocese have combined to present this new, outdoor drama portraying the passion and crucifixion of Christ.

“They Crucified Him” will be produced and directed by award-winning producer, Ross Jennings, and co-directed by Terri de’Ath. With music under the direction of well-known Auckland musician, Robert Loretz, the performance will feature a large cast and choir and professional lighting, sound and costumes.

The event will be in three parts. The first, beginning at 5.30pm is a procession portraying the triumphful entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, featuring Jesus riding on a donkey accompanied by crowds waving palms. This will be followed with time for the audience to have a picnic meal which they can bring themselves or avail of the many barbecues that will be set up around the venue.

Part three is the passion play itself. Commencing at 7.30pm sharp the drama, lasting an hour and a half, will be a truly spectacular portrayal of the Last Supper, the Way of the Cross and the Crucifixion.

Few venues can boast settings as unique as those of Villa Maria’s Auckland winery. Located inside the crater of a 20,000 year old extinct volcano, it sits nestled among rows of vines, and lies close to the magnificent Manukau Harbour. The shape of the land itself provides a natural amphitheatre for concerts and a spectacle such as the passion play. Situated only five minutes from Auckland International Airport, yet at the same time only 25 minutes from Auckland’s CBD, it is the perfect location for staging the passion play.

Bishop Dunn has said that this very moving portrayal will be an opportunity for all Christians to reflect upon the meaning of Holy Week. “With the combined expertise of the team led by Ross Jennings and Robert Loretz and the participation of the parishes of South Auckland, I am confident that this will be a memorable and deeply uplifting and moving experience,” he said.

The event is free, but there will be an opportunity to offer a donation or koha. A limited number of premier seating is for sale to help offset costs at $50 per seat. However it will be necessary for all spectators to register for logistical purposes, and details are available at www.passionplay2015.org or by phoning (09) 238 8378 or 027 216 4934. (Details will also shortly be available on this website.)

There is secure parking for large numbers of private cars with a nominal charge of $5, and for those coming to Auckland from other places there is ample parking for buses. Parishes are encouraged to arrange group transport.

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