Rehearsals are under way for Lisnagarvey Operatic Society’s upcoming production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which will be staged at the Island Hall from Tuesday April 21 until Saturday April 25.
For some the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which first hit the stage in the 70s, is seen as controversial, with many churches and religious groups branding it as blasphemous.
When a production of the show was recently staged at the Grand Opera House in Belfast there were protests outside on the opening night.
However, one of the actors in the Lisburn production, Paul Holdswroth, who serves as a minister in the Moravian Church, said he had no qualms about appearing in the show and believes it will open people up to discussing the Christian message.
Rev Holdsworth has been a member of Lisnagarvey Operatic Society for ten years and is playing one of the disciples in this month’s production.
“When the show was announced it did make me stop and think because I thought it would be a challenge for us,” said Rev Holdsworth.
“We seem to have met that challenge.”
He acknowledged that some churches may be concerned about the show. “There are certain denominations that might worry but I didn’t,” he continued.
“For me it grasps many of the themes of Passion Week. I think it will help to engage people. especially young people. We have to keep trying new ways to engage young people and this is one way of doing that.
“Everyone is entitled to their view and my view, from being in the show, is that it does present a different perspective on the story.
“We are not quite in the realms of Dan Brown and his fairytale. We are trying to see things through Judas’ eyes, which we have no idea about.
“But for me it is a reasonable expectation of what the characters said.
“If people come along and enjoy it, they might want to find out more. What is wrong with that? I am not the sort of minister who thinks he has all the answers but it has got me thinking.
“I have been thinking about it a lot during rehearsals and it is interesting to be part of it, especially because of my calling.”
With an award-winning production team including Direction by Wilfie Pyper, musical direction from Ian Milford and choreography from Clare Donnelly, this new revival of the show hopes to move, inspire and entertain audiences with emotional performances from a strong line up of principals featuring talent from across the province, including Orla McCormack as Mary, Sean Harkin as Judas and Adam Williamson as Jesus.
Tickets are on sale now from the Box Office on 9250 9254 or online at www.islandartscentre.com.