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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Passion play rehearsals under way
Darren Morfitt and Tim Booth, who play Jesus and Judas in Manchester Passion
'The Crucifixion' will take place in Albert Square
Actors are preparing to re-enact the story of the Crucifixion on the streets of Manchester on Good Friday.

BBC Three is staging Manchester Passion, a contemporary retelling of the last hours of Jesus' life told through the music of Manchester.

Actors will carry an eight-metre luminous cross through the streets to Albert Square on Friday night.

Members of the public will be urged to join in with songs by bands including Joy Division, New Order and Oasis.

All the tracks in the production will be music from Manchester bands from past 30 years.

Manchester Passion for BBC Three
Songs will be accompanied by a 16-piece string orchestra
Primal Scream vocalist Denise Johnson will play the Virgin Mary and Tim Booth, lead singer of James, plays Judas.

Darren Morfitt, star of Dog Soldiers, plays Jesus, and Nicholas Bailey, who was Dr Antony Trueman in EastEnders, is Peter.

Confirmed songs include Jesus singing Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart at the Last Supper, Jesus and Judas duetting on New Order's Blue Monday and the Virgin Mary singing M People's Search For The Hero.

The event will be presented by actor Keith Allen, who has starred in Bodies and 24 Hour Party People.

The actors will perform live, accompanied by a 16-piece string orchestra and busking disciples who play guitar, cello and accordion.

The evening production has been developed by the TV classical music department behind BBC Three's Flashmob: The Opera.

A BBC spokeswoman said the programme-makers hoped "people that never go to church may go along".

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