GP and window cleaners take starring roles in Passion Play

The stars of this year's Easter Passion Play at Princes Street Gardens include window cleaning brothers Kevin, left, and Sean Edie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The stars of this year's Easter Passion Play at Princes Street Gardens include window cleaning brothers Kevin, left, and Sean Edie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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A FAMILY doctor and two brothers who run a window-cleaning business in the Capital are among those ­preparing to appear in a large-scale open-air Passion Play in the city centre.

The free-to-attend, unticketed Edinburgh Easter Play, which will take place in Princes Street Gardens tomorrow at 2pm, is one of the biggest community drama productions in the city, with a cast of more than 40 amateur actors supported by a small team of professionals.

In the past, crowds of up to 4500 have packed the Gardens to watch the Easter story.Robert Elswood, a GP from Corstorphine, is making his acting debut in the play this year in the role of Pontius Pilate.

He said: “I’d seen the play about ten years ago and was very impressed with it. I think it’s a story that needs to be told and retold for every generation.

“When I heard they were short of male actors, I decided to give it a try.

“I thought I would end up as a man holding a spear but after I read a few lines the director asked me if I’d do Pontius Pilate.

“It was terrifying because I’ve never done any acting before, not even at school, but it was also exciting because he’s an interesting character.

“He realises that Jesus is innocent, but he’s frightened because his job is on the line, and if the crowd gets out of hand there could be a riot. He’s in a real bind, and gets quite angry. It’s an interesting part to play.”

Window cleaner Sean Edie, who plays John the Baptist, has been involved for the past eight years with his brother Kevin and dad David.

He said: “I started off as a soldier, then went on to do Thomas and John the disciple.

“I enjoy it, it’s fun to do. It’s good to perform out in the open air – although we’re all praying for good weather.”

Since the first production in Princes Street Gardens in 2006, the Easter Play has become a much-loved tradition in the city.

The team has tried different ways of telling the story, including ‘The Edinburgh Passion’ in 2014 by Rob Drummond, which set the story in the present day.

Director Suzanne Lofthus said: “It’s not enough to put on the Easter story every year, we are always looking for new ways to tell it, and ways which enable people to ­connect with it.”

Tomorrow, for the first time in six years, the production will be a mostly traditional Passion Play.

Rev Mike Frew, chairman of the Princes Street Easter Play Trust, said: “We have gone back to a traditional, costumed production this year because we felt that a lot of people don’t know the original story.

“But we also want to make a bridge from the original story to the 21st century.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com