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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2006, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Manchester re-enacts Crucifixion
The Virgin Mary (Denise Johnson) sings at Manchester Passion
Thousands crammed into Albert Square to watch the performance
An estimated 6,000 people have watched the story of the Crucifixion being re-enacted in Manchester.

The Manchester Passion was a contemporary retelling of the last hours of Jesus' life through the city's musical output.

It featured tunes from Oasis and New Order and ended with Darren Morfitt as Jesus singing I Am The Resurrection, by The Stone Roses, from the Town Hall.

The BBC Three event aimed to attract the non-churchgoing public.

Crowds joined in with songs such as New Order's Blue Monday, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, by The Smiths, and the Oasis song Cast No Shadow.

There were cries of "Crucify!" as narrator Keith Allen asked the audience who should die, Jesus or Barabas.

Judas (Tim Booth), Peter (Nicholas Bailey) and Jesus (Darren Morfitt) at Manchester Passion
The Last Supper was eaten outside a fish and chip van

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

Primal Scream vocalist Denise Johnson played the Virgin Mary and Tim Booth, lead singer of James, played Judas.

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

Among the highlights were Jesus singing Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart at the Last Supper and the Virgin Mary performing M People's Search For The Hero.

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

It has drawn support from Christian groups, including the Church of England.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said: "Manchester Passion has a sincerity and an ability to shock and connect that is not far removed from how it must have been on the first Good Friday."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See scenes from Manchester's version of the Passion



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