Churches in Abingdon worked together to stage a passion play in the park.

Hundreds of people gathered in Abbey Gardens on Saturday to watch a modern take on the story of Christ's crucifixion.

The sun shone down as performances got under way at noon and at 5pm.

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The cast and musicians from across the town worked for months to rehearse for the big day.

The cast, led by Simon Hazael as Jesus, was supported by The Abingdon Passion Play Singers, The Abingdon Passion Play Band, and a Children's Choir.

Ralph Westby was director and producer while Sally Mears was musical director.

Churches across the town provided rehearsal space, together with St Helen and St Katharine School and Radley College.

(Image: Andy Ffrench) Mr Westby said in the programme notes that the actors were from diverse backgrounds and countries, with ages ranging from 18 to 81.

He added: "The language, costumes and enhancing music are modern.

"The play is contemporary: not a movie, a piece of theatre or a Bible reading but a construct of all three.

"It's novel theatrical features include two people watching and commenting upon the play from a nearby cafe."

The passion play was performed on the site of the town's former abbey, which was destroyed in 1538 following Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries of 1536.

David Pope, chairman of Abingdon Passion Play Committee, said: "Thanks to all who have helped, in any way, to put on this production, particularly our musical director Sally Mears and our director Ralph Westby."

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Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

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