The Poole Passion is based in the seaside town of Poole in Dorset, on the south coast of England.
Performing spectacular Passion Plays in the beautiful St Peter's Church.
With atmospheric lighting, emotive live music and a cast of many wonderful actors.
Founder, Writer & Director - Sharon Muiruri Coyne
Artistic director and writer, Sharon Muiruri Coyne, was inspired to create the Poole Passion and write it's first play, the beautiful story Through The Eyes of A Child, after seeing a set of tableaux at a London exhibition of Bill Viola called 'The Passions', which Sharon visited in the wake of her father's passing, William Sims.
After conversations with Rev Nigel Lloyd and Jonathan Martin, this idea developed into her writing a full-scale play. Rev Roger Bayldon later joined the group as producer to help 'guide the ship', and so, with great dedication and commitment, in 2009, The Poole Passion was born.
Towards the end of writing the script, Sharon’s mother, Joan, also passed over, and Sharon channeled her deep emotions into the writing of the final stages of Jesus’s life.
When the play had its first performance, people quickly started to talk about it as a 'tradition'. From a desire from both actors and the local community, the play became a bi-annual event.
With Sharon’s work as an applied drama practitioner, she was able to draw on a very diverse group of faith and non-faith people, from all backgrounds and beliefs. People who had come through many personal challenges in life.
Many years later, The Poole Passion is now a well established production with audiences travelling from all over UK and abroad.
It was the first UK Passion to join Europassion (connecting over 90 Passion Play productions across Europe). Members of Poole Passion often travel to see fellow Passion Play productions across Europe. The Poole Passion was also featured on BBC 'Songs of Praise' in 2016.
“Creating Through the Eyes of A Child enabled me to express some of my emotions from the passing of my mother and also be reminded of the hope of the Easter Story.
The Poole Passion has been a huge part of my life and that of my family, Martin, Muiruri and Gabriel who have all contributed. Personally, although at times hectic, crazy and tiring, it has been an absolute honour to work with hundreds of different people and be a part of the very special Poole Passion family. We are a totally eclectic group who, through the common endeavour of creating a play, come together and make beautiful performances with music, dance, lighting, imagery and acting. We capture the essence of community and love. For me, it has been a labour of love and a deeply enriching experience. I have learnt a great deal. Long may the The Poole Passion continue.”
The tradition of Passion Plays in Britain goes back many centuries to the Middle Ages. In the book 'All The World’s A Stage' by Ronald Harwood, he describes the inclusive aspect of these Mediaeval plays:
"Bells would have rung all over England. The presentation of plays involved men and women from all walks of life, all major cities and centres of influence. In York, for example, out of a population of five thousand, two thousand took part. There is much evidence to support the view that participation and enjoyment were classless: the drama became part of the mantle world of the performers and spectators alike."
"Our aim with the Poole Passion Play is to embrace some of the elements of the traditional Passion Plays, in particular its ability to draw people together."
Sharon is an Associate Fellow at Winchester University. Her freelance practice involves the use of Applied Drama with marginalised groups. Founder and Artistic director of Vita Nova, she is also an accomplished writer and director.
Writer, Director & Actor - Ann Balaam
In 2018, Sharon decided to leave the Poole Passion to devote her energies to her
PhD studies in Philosophy and Applied Drama at Winchester University (we are proud to say she has since been awarded a Doctorate). So Sharon handed the Poole Passion over to talented writer, director and actor Ann Balaam.
Ann wrote a powerful and moving new story for the Poole Passion entitled Footsteps and began assembling a new cast including core members of the previous Passion Play and some wonderful new actors. Ann also assembled a new production team including assistant director, Stuart Glossop, an experienced and talented actor who has played both Jesus and Judas in previous productions of the Poole Passion.
Ann has been involved in drama since the 1960’s and joined the Poole Passion in 2013, playing the emotive role of Mary, mother of Jesus, three times in previous productions. Her role in the Poole Passion extends beyond being the new writer and director to creating scenery and making costumes for both the past and new production. Her daughter Hannah Stockley is an experienced stage manager and also works with the Poole Passion alongside Ann's husband Clive as a main actor in all our productions since 2013 and also as Chairman for Poole Passion committee in 2022.
"During teacher training in Drama I attended many and varied drama courses over the years and continue learning. As a teacher, I have taught drama and written and directed many school productions of which some pupils have become professional actors.
I feel very honoured to be the Artistic Director for the Poole Passion and to continue the wonderful work of our previous director, Sharon Muiruri Coyne.
I look forward to working with both existing and new members on our new play Footsteps."
The first production of Footsteps in 2022 received overwhelming praise from audiences, with some people returning to watch it again a second night.
Stuart has been involved in Community Theatre
as an Actor, Drama Workshop Leader and
Director since leaving Drama School in the
early 1990's. He has continued to work both
as a professional and as an amateur for
over 35 years, appearing in and Directing a large number of productions in that time. He first started working with The Poole Passion in 2011 and has since remained an active performer appearing as both Judas and Jesus and as Assistant Director.
Website design - Paul Stillwell
Performance photography - Richard Jeffery & Ken Bedborough
Poole Beach Seascape photography - Paul Stillwell
The Poole Passion is assisted by the kind sponsorship of
(Click the logos above to see their websites)
With Special Thanks to Rev. Mike Trotman for his support and usage of the beautiful St Peter's Church, Poole for our play. (Click photo to go to the St Peter's website)
See below for our charity work and The Poole Passion Constitution
Assistant Director - Stuart Glossop
A New Era
The Poole Passion supports 2 local charities:
Routes to Roots
Helping homeless people in Poole. We recently donated 2 bags of presents as a Christmas gift.
(Click the logo see to their website)
Supporting local people with mental health challenges since 1946
The Poole Passion donated a percentage of the proceeds from the 2022 production of Footsteps to Dorset Mind.
(Click the logo see to their website)
The Poole Passion – Constitution 2014 (Revised 2015)
1. In 2005 Poole Tourism approached the Borough Chaplain to explore the possibility of the “Poole Community” working together to develop a Passion Play, on the lines of the Passion play performed regularly in Oberammergau, Bavaria. This was fed back to the Poole Churches. An interest was expressed, but no way forward found. During 2007 a similar conversation was had with our Church Related Community Worker and the Town Centre Management. The idea was raised at a Churches Together in Poole meeting and it was received with enthusiasm. Coincidently the Rector of St Peter’s Parkstone had realised for some time that a member of their congregation Ms Sharon Muiruri, had the relevant skills and experience to put on such a play and that they had discussed such a possibility; it was therefore fortuitous to find someone willing to explore this idea further. In June/July 2008 an exploratory meeting was held and from that a series of drama workshops developed.
2. These workshops were extremely successful, and led to the development of a more organised group, linked to St Peter’s Parkstone and The Parkstone United Reformed Church Local Ecumenical Partnership. A pilot play was performed in Poole, during Holy Week 2009, with highlights also being performed in Poole Town Centre on Good Friday and repeated in 2010. During which time it was decided that there was no better venue for the Play in Poole than in the two churches chosen for the Pilot study. A management committee was formed, and this constitution developed in order to put the enterprise on a formal footing and to ensure the Poole Community Passion Play (PCPP) was properly constituted thereby ensuring good practice and to enable the PCPP had the necessary funding, insurance and publicity.
3. In February 2014 The Poole Passion became a Community Interest Company (No. 08880192). This was to facilitate grant and funding applications and to put it on a more legal basis.
4. This version of the Constitution dated 10th September 2014 supersedes all other versions.
5. The name of the enterprise shall be The Poole Passion CIC (TPP), originally known as Poole Community Passion Play (PCPP).
6. The aims of TPP are:
a. To unite together people of the community of Poole in taking part in an artistic and educative endeavour that involves both the very young and elderly together;
b. To encourage both those who have had an experience of the arts and those who have had none at all to take part;
c. To work with appropriate professional individuals in devising a play that draws from some of the cultural traditions of early Passion Plays yet finds relevance for today.
d. To provide a noteworthy spectacle that attracts tourists to Poole by enabling them to join in and be a part of a wider production.
e. To encourage those who have Christian faith, those of other faiths and those with no faith to take part by:
(1) Giving people opportunities to learn and develop primarily drama and theatre skills and also music, dancing, visual artist and multi- media skills;
(2) Developing those interested in the necessary organisational /management skills in the production of a community play;
f. To celebrate a major Christian festival, recognising that in the last census 70% of the community professed their faith to be Christian;
g. To generate physical activity promoting Health and Well-being especially for those who may be out of work or elderly, by developing the play to move from scene to scene between the two churches in Parkstone;
h. To encourage a sense of inclusiveness, fellowship and openness within the Community of Poole and in particular Parkstone, for all who take part;
i. To encourage confidence and self-esteem within the group through taking part in a community event that is performed in public and in the open;
7. Membership will be open to anyone who supports the aims of TPP and who is prepared to contribute by producing, directing, acting, dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument, providing backstage support and promotional support to its production.
8. Every member shall have one vote in the decisions proposed by the committee.
9. Membership does not discriminate on grounds of their race, colour ethnic or national origin or because of their gender, disability or health (including HIV+ status) sensory or speech impairment, age, sexual orientation, religion, political party or marital status. Finance
10. All financial business for TPP must be carried out constitutionally:
a. All money raised by or on behalf of TPP to be used only to further the aims of TPP
b. The Treasurer operates a bank account in the name of the Poole Community Passion Play (PCPP);
c. Cheque signatories will be nominated members of the Committee and each cheque will have two signatories;
d. All cheques and instructions to the TPP bankers shall require two of the agreed signatures;
e. The Treasurer shall have the accounts checked annually by an independent scrutinizer;
f. TPP will not lend money to the members;
g. Professional fees will be payable to those entitled. For budgetary purposes, professionals invited to work on behalf of TPP are to submit an estimate of their charges before starting work. If funds are seen to exceed the estimate at any stage, the committee only can agree any excess;
h. Out of pocket expenses disbursed solely in support of TPP will be payable to members provided that an invoice or other document acceptable to the Treasurer supports the expense.
11. The committee manages the day-to-day affairs of TPP and is elected by the members of TPP. It is responsible to the members of TPP.
12. The Committee:-
a. Shall be selected to carry out the business of TPP
b. Shall be made up of the following: Officers (1) Chair person (Officer of the Committee); (2) Secretary (Officer of the Committee); (3) Treasurer (Officer of the Committee); (4) Artistic Director (Officer of the Committee); (5) Producer (Officer of the Committee). Floor Members (6) Three members of TPP (7) Local government representative (ex officio); (8) Bridging the Communities representative (ex officio).
c. Shall meet in January, April, July and October and at other times as and when the situation demands. Meetings shall not normally be called on rehearsal days;
d. Minutes of the meetings shall be available to all members of TPP;
e. May introduce and co-opt other members and professional non-members to the committee as required;
f. No two members of the same household shall be signatories on any one cheque.
g. May appoint members to form Groups for specific, identified, purposes: e g; Production, Communications and/or Publicity, Social organiser. Such groups shall report their progress to the Committee. Annual General Meeting
13. An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be called within fifteen calendar months of its predecessor
14. At the AGM the officers of TPP shall report, present the accounts and then the committee shall resign. A new committee is then elected. Retiring members being eligible for re-election
15. The Constitution is available upon request to all members. At the AGM members may vote on recommendations and amendments to the Constitution, provided the proposed amendment/s are placed with the Secretary a week before the AGM, thereafter the constitution will be re-adopted by the AGM;
16. The Secretary will notify all members of the date of the AGM not less than fourteen days before the AGM
Extraordinary General Meeting
17. A special or extraordinary general meeting open to all members will be held if seven or more members submit in writing a request for such a meeting to the Secretary. The Secretary shall arrange for the meeting to take place within fourteen days.
18. The request shall state the reason for calling the meeting. There shall be no other item on the agenda.
19. The Secretary will publicise all such general meetings at least five days in advance. Quorum
20. This is the number of members required for a meeting to proceed and make decisions.
21. No general meeting or annual general meeting shall take place if fewer than twelve (???) members are present.
22. No committee meeting shall take place unless at least one officer and three committee members are present. No financial decisions shall be made unless the Treasurer is present as one of the officers. Changes to the Constitution
23. The constitution can only be altered at an AGM or at a meeting called for that purpose;
24. Any suggested changes to the constitution must be handed to the Secretary fourteen days before the AGM or Change Meeting
25. Changes to the constitution must be agreed by a simple majority of the members present at the meeting.
26. The Chair shall have the casting vote
27. None of the aims in paragraph 5 may be deleted. Friends of The Poole Passion
28. “Friends of The Poole Passion” help to ensure sustainability of the project by defraying some part of the considerable financial expenditure incurred by the production. “Friends” may be members of the community play company, who are under no obligation to be “friends”, interested members of the public, or organisations.
29. There are various categories of Friends, the rates for which are determined by the committee. To be named as a Friend, those interested should contact the Treasurer.
30. TPP may only be dissolved at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose and must be advertised fourteen days before the meeting
31. A proposal to dissolve TPP shall only be accepted if signed by a majority of members. The decision shall be agreed by a simple majority of eligible voters present.
32. Funds and possessions will be disposed of by a gift or gifts for charitable purposes in the area or to a charity having substantially similar objectives to TPP and in each case agreed by a simple majority of the members present in person or by proxy at the meeting
33. No members of TPP shall receive any benefit either in cash or in kind from the disposal of TPP’s assets.
Expectation of Conduct
34. Members shall at all times, conduct themselves in a reasonable manner at meetings, rehearsals and performances of TPP and in premises used by TPP for these activities, and be excluded if they contravene the aims and objectives of TPP. This will be done by a majority of those present and voting at any committee meeting or general meeting.
35. This issue of the constitution replaces all previous issues and was adopted by TPP at the Annual General Meeting on 4th November 2015