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Walking Passion Play brings Easter to the Dales capital of rambling

First published on: 2nd April 2024

A roving Passion Play put Easter into the heart of Settle with a walking version of the greatest story ever told.

Organised by Churches Together in Settle and District, this ‘play on the move’ first started in 2009 and has continued annually, except for 2020 due to Covid restrictions.

Watched by locals, visitors and ramblers, all of the cast members gave their best performances in enacting the biblical account of the death of Jesus, remembered each year on Good Friday.

It began in St John’s Methodist Church for the Last Supper, then walked round to the Millennium Garden on Kirkgate for the Garden of Gethsemane scene, where Jesus was arrested and taken up the narrow Kirkgate lane to the Market Place. That was the setting for the trial scene and Pilate’s sentence of death. Carrying a cross, Jesus was led down Church Street to the graveyard at Settle Parish Church for the Crucifixion.

“The play doesn’t cover the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Day, though this was celebrated locally by a Dawn Service next to the Quaker Meeting House in Settle on Sunday, led by Revd Julie Clarkson, vicar of Settle Parish Church,” said Judith Allinson, one of the organisers.

People from at least 12 different churches and some from no church were involved in the extensive production. 

Judith said people had travelled from Bradford just to follow the play and told her: “We decided that we should go to Settle to see the Passion Play, and we are so pleased that we did. It was very moving”.

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