We are writing concerning the Cowley Road Passion Play being cancelled.

Like many people in East Oxford and beyond, we were deeply disappointed to be told of the peremptory and unexplained cancellation of this extremely popular bi-annual event. Decided by the city council, apparently, on Saturday, April 12 – over a weekend and a mere six days before the play was due to take place.

Not only is the Passion Play an extremely popular community occasion but it draws in people from quite some way around. It was even warmly commended as a thing to come and see by Martin Wainwright in The Guardian newspaper on Friday, April 11: the very day before the city council decided to cancel it. Goodness knows how many people might now travel considerable distances only to find the event peremptorily cancelled.

And that says nothing about the enormous amount of time and energy that local people and organisations have put into rehearsing and planning the Passion Play over many weeks. If the powers-that-be had a mind to ban the play, moreover, they should at least have had the common courtesy to do so weeks ago. So, like many other people, we would greatly appreciate a clear and rational explanation of the reasons behind this sudden ban. Something ‘transparent’, indeed.

And can ‘people power’ ensure that this popular community event goes ahead on April 18 as planned?


Divinity Road

East Oxford