Streetwise Opera retell The St Matthew Passion

Streetwise Opera on BBC Arts

BBC Four and The Space teamed up with Streetwise Opera to give TV and online audiences a front row seat for an extraordinary re-telling of ‘the greatest story ever told’.

The cast of The Passion on stage holding crucifix

Streetwise Opera helps people who have experienced homelessness to change their lives for the better through music.

Last Easter it brought the story of the last days of Jesus’ life to a market in Manchester over two days. In an extraordinary production based on Bach’s St Matthew Passion and starring professional singers from The Sixteen alongside Streetwise performers, it invited audiences to walk alongside Christ, Judas and the Apostles, following the performance as it moved through the Victorian Campfield Market.

A scene from  The Passion

Directed by Award-winning British filmmaker Penny Woolcock (Going To The Dogs and One Mile Away), the performance is conducted by Harry Christophers and features striking visual designs and live projections by Dick Bird and Imitating The Dog. Multiple performers play the leading role as a reminder of Jesus’ vulnerability and universality. The production also contains a moving new ‘resurrection’ finale jointly written by Streetwise Opera’s performers and celebrated composer Sir James MacMillan.

The Space teamed up with Streetwise Opera to film the production and bring it to audiences across the UK with a broadcast on BBC Four on Easter Sunday and exclusive behind the scenes content on BBC Arts in the lead-up to the screening. Other excerpts and intreviews with the company can be seen on the Streetwise Opera YouTube Channel.

For more on Streetwise Opera’s The Passion read our case study Making an immersive theatre blockbuster work for TV audiences

About this artist

The Passion is a co-production by Streetwise Opera and The Sixteen in association with HOME, Manchester’s international centre for contemporary visual art, theatre and film, and in partnership with the Booth Centre. The Space commissioned the filming of the live performance for use on TV and online.

The Passion is directed by Penny Woolcock, conducted by Harry Christophers with visual designs and projections by Dick Bird and Imitating The Dog. Composer of the resurrection finale, written with Streetwise performers, is Sir James Macmillan. Director and Producer for the filming of the production are Ross MacGibbon and Janie Valentine.