Easter Passion Play is April 23, 2011
Date: April 4, 2011
The emergence of spring at Andrews University brings with it an opportunity to witness to the community. Since 2003, Andrews University has hosted its annual Easter Passion Play on campus, drawing thousands of audience members from across the country to each event. With the help of 600+ community and student volunteers, the eighth annual Easter Passion Play will return on Saturday, April 23, to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Families will love the Easter Passion Play because it is interactive learning,” says Ron Whitehead, executive producer of the Easter Passion Play. “The Bible story comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Bible times. It is the most powerful story ever told.”
In 2003, the first Easter Passion Play on the campus of Andrews University was produced under Whitehead’s vision and direction. Since its beginnings, the production has grown from attracting a 5,000-member crowd to an estimated 10,000 expected at this year’s production.
The indoor/outdoor walk-through experience begins at the Howard Performing Arts Center with a short video welcome and the opening scene. Then, visitors head outdoors to be part of the crowd at Jesus’ triumphal entry into the Jerusalem marketplace. The audience will then be guided through the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the marketplace, complete with live animals and food samples. Continuing on the journey, participants will experience a Roman encampment, hear Christ’s words at the Last Supper and witness the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The reality of Christ’s sacrifice is depicted through a moving crucifixion scene followed by a lights-and-sound show in the darkened Johnson Gym. The production culminates here with the Savior emerging victorious from the tomb.
Hospitality staff will greet and assist participants as they exit the gym. Free refreshments will be available at the Hospitality Tent sponsored by Pioneer Memorial Church. Visitors can take a moment to reflect in the Prayer Room and/or ride a free shuttle bus back to main event parking areas.
“Being part of the Easter Passion Play is all about service,” says Dave Fernandez, Spanish student at Andrews University. Dave portrayed the role of Jesus during the 2009 and 2010 Easter Passion Plays. He says, “You have to pray for God to humble you and let Him be seen through you... When you allow yourself to be broken and used—it’s an incredible blessing.”
Individuals, families, church and school groups are encouraged to reserve wristbands early for this event. Wristbands will be given at the first scene and can be reserved online for free at www.passionplay.andrews.edu. The first rotation will begin at 10 a.m. followed by new rotations every 30 minutes until 6:30 p.m. The Spanish rotations will take place at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Participants should arrive 30 minutes prior to their scheduled rotation.
If you are interested in volunteering, visit www.passionplay.andrews.edu and click on the “Volunteers” link. Volunteers must complete a registration form and receive approval in order to participate in the event. Non-speaking roles are still available.