In 2008, on a visit to an exhibition at the National Gallery, Peter Hutley was walking across Trafalgar Square towards the church of Saint Martin-in-the-Field when “Suddenly, a thought me struck me, Trafalgar Square would be a marvellous place to stage a passion play.”
International property developer Hutley had the vision and the ability to make his idea come to life. In 2010, the first The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square took place on Good Friday. Since then, the Wintershall Players, a troupe of about 100 keen amateurs, stage two open-air recreations of Jesus’ trial, death and resurrection in Trafalgar Square, under Nelson’s Column, on the Friday before Easter.
The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square is about the judgement of Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate. There is then the journey through the streets of Jerusalem with Jesus wearing the crown of thorns and carrying the cross, made from two real tree trunks. The play ends with the crucifixion, when Christ and two thieves were strung up on crosses with nails in their hands and feet.
The purpose of the production is about passing on the Christian message. The square is always packed with thousands of onlookers commemorating the day Jesus is believed to have been killed by the Romans, two day before miraculously rising from the dead on Easter Sunday.
Details for Good Friday performance
The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square will be performed at noon and at 3.15pm on Good Friday, 14th April 2017. Each 90 minute performance is projected onto big screens for everyone in the square to follow. The Passion of Jesus has a realistic interpretation of the crucifixion, so parental guidance is advised. British sign language interpretation is provided.
At his home in Wintershall, in tandem with his business career, Hutley started producing outdoor plays in an old barn behind the main house in 1989. Within a few years it had grown to audiences of 600 people with all 10 performances sold out. In 1993 Hutley’s story of ‘The Passion of Jesus’ was first performed to an outdoor audience.
In 2004, Peter received an MBE for services to the community and was appointed a Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory and his wife Ann was made a Dame. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for his work in promoting Christian understanding.