Update 16 December: it's now been broadcast - and I wrote another post about it.
I was a big fan of the Manchester Passion ... a retelling of the Easter story using contemporary Manchester artists and lyrics, and broadcast live from around Manchester city centre on Good Friday 2006. It was repeated this year on Good Friday, and it’s impact was still as strong.
To mark the advent of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, the BBC have shifted the format west along the M62 and are staging the Liverpool Nativity on the Sunday 16 December, once again live on BBC Three. To quote the press release:
“Far from being the simple story beloved of school plays throughout the world, this is a drama as fresh and relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago – the intimate, personal story of a pregnant young girl set against a backdrop of political tension and unrest.”
So expect to find Geoffrey Hughes playing the Angel Gabriel narrating the events, and Cathy Tyson cast as Herodia, a paranoid government minister “desperate to cling to power, orders a crackdown on immigration” directing events as they unfold live in Liverpool city centre.
Of course, any nativity would be lost without Mary and Joseph (Jodie McNee and Kenny Thompson). Joseph is an asylum seeker, instructed to report to the nearest passport office, whilst Mary “discovers she is pregnant and must fight to protect both Joseph and her unborn child”.
There’ll be familiar music taken from The Beatles, The La’s, The Zutons, and doubtless other bands whose names begin with “The”, performed by a live orchestra, and woven into the story line.
Other sons and daughters of Liverpool will pop up with speke-ing roles, including Jennifer Ellison (an angel); Paul Barber (the landlord) and Andrew Schofield (a shepherd). And 28 students from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) will be taking part, performing songs and working backstage in the huge production.
If you’re in the area on Sunday 16th, head down to Liverpool’s William Brown Street (map) from 7pm to watch the event live. Certainly passes for creative and distinctive in my books!