Briefing: Passion Plays and Antisemitism

There’s a resurgence of interest across the world in Passion Plays, which depict the story of Jesus from Palm Sunday to the resurrection. The main one in Britain is at Trafalgar Square, produced by the Wintershall Trust, which attracts audiences of 20,000. There are at least twenty others taking place in towns and cities across Britain. But this year they are staged against a backdrop of heightened community tension and rising antisemitism after the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel and the war in Gaza.

In this Religion Media Centre briefing, the panel discusses how producers are paying closer attention to words, settings and costume this year in order to remove antisemitism, while Jewish communities report anxiety over the way Jews are portrayed in the dramas. A rabbi tells the briefing that the British Jewish community is small and most people who see a Passion Play will never knowingly meet a Jew here, so what is said about them is a huge responsibility. Hosted by Ruth Peacock, the panel is:

  • Rev Dr Nathan Eddy, Do-Director, Council of Christians and Jews
  • Dr Katie Turner, Consultant on visual depictions of the Bible
  • Prof Jolyon Mitchell, Principal, St John’s College Durham
  • Charlotte de Klee, producer of the Wintershall Passion of Jesus
  • Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue
  • Alex Stewart-Clark, trustee of The Passion Trust

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Hannah Scott Joynt


Voice-over artist, award winning radio and TV presenter and BBC continuity announcer


Leo Devine

Leo's Local

Media and Training Consultant at Devine Media. Former BBC Journalist, Editor and Senior Leader


Rosie Dawson

Journo's Notebook

Freelance religion journalist, documentary maker and radio producer with 20+ years of experience in the BBC’s Religion and Ethics department

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