Play inspires hope through story of Ruth
The story of Ruth, about a girl who felt like an outsider and was concerned over finding a home and income, is sure to resonate with many people. A successful Cambridge theatre company captivated audiences again this weekend with Redemption Song, a new take on the biblical narrative.
The play, written by Daniel Carlson, returned due to popular demand after sell-out performances at the Corpus Christi Playroom in early September.
Hope Players, founded as part of Hope 08, brings together Christians, from different denominations, in Cambridge and aims to honour God with their talents, resource the Church, and witness to the wider community.
Redemption Song takes audiences on a journey through Ruth’s story from the viewpoint of Naomi and used outside characters’ dialogue to provide a fresh insight into the biblical story.
Daniel Carlson, Redemption Song's writer, said: “All sorts of people have experienced some kind of suffering or despair and we just hope that they will be touched in some way by the play, whether just by the romance or by the deeper spiritual themes.
“As Hope Players we always want to point to Jesus. The story of Ruth is in some ways an echo of the story of Jesus, being set in Bethlehem and about the direct lineage. We ended with a cross image which established a link and it makes people think.”
Strong themes emanate from the performance: hope in the face of loss, redemption through suffering and obedience in the face of rejection. Carlson’s first play, which took a year to write, was first conceptualised after The Cambridge Passion which was performed on the saturday before Easter 2008, to a crowd of more than 500. Discussions among the cast heard the female actors who had played disciples expressing the desire for gritty women’s roles.
By communicating the gospel though the arts, Hope players exists to impact lives and to show others what it means to have Christian hope. Carlson continued: “Hope Cambridge are right behind us and in lots of ways we are exactly what HOPE is all about; churches working together and presenting the good news.”
Anne Beaumont, Artistic Director, said: “Recently, I saw the ‘Take it to the streets’ CD from Hope 08 and felt God say that we should get our performances out on the streets. Drama can be effective anywhere and I would love to do something in the future that takes us out of the theatres and communicates the gospel in a contemporary and relevant way. It is exciting to think of all Hope players could go on to become."
Other productions such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe last year encouraged people to bring neighbours and non Christian friends and recruited more members to the company aswell as selling out all five performances at the University of Cambridge's ADC Theatre. The cast has now been finalised for the Hope Players' next ambitious project, The Hobbit for Easter 2011, again at the ADC.
Hope Together, the national initiative and a continuation from Hope 08, launched this July. Roy Crowne, Executive Director, said: “Hope Players are a shining example of people that got inspired to do something as part of Hope 08 and the company has flourished since. It is so great to see churches working together sharing Jesus’ love with their communities through all kinds of word and actions, in this case through the arts. Let us embark on a new season when we do even more together and bring hope to each village, town and city.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Hope Players is a drama group supported by Hope Cambridge. They aim to do 2 productions a year, one larger and one smaller. Productions by Hope Players include: ‘The Cambridge Passion’ (Easter 2008), 'Hope in the Open' (2008), 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' (2009), 'Hope on Tour'(2010) and 'Redemption Song' (2010). On 20th-23rd April 2011 Hope Players will be putting on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit (adapted by Glyn Robbins) at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge. www.hopeplayers.co.uk
Hope Cambridge is a catalyst for churches in the Cambridge area to work together, uniting in prayer, outreach and community action to contribute to the flourishing and good of our neighbourhoods. It promotes opportunities to energetically engage in inter-church mission, prayer and community involvement. www.hopecambridge.com