Page 6, 30th March 1951

30th March 1951
Page 6
Page 6, 30th March 1951 — WAY OF THE CROSS IN VARIETY THEATRE
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Locations: Kingston, London

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WAY OF THE CROSS IN VARIETY THEATRE

By a Staff Reporter

IN the cold damp wind on Good Friday night long queues of people huddled in the shelter of the walls of two cinemas in the London suburb of Kingston, waiting to see "Kiss in the Dark " and "Kiss To-morrow Goodbye."

On the other side of the road, the Kingston Empire variety theatre too was full. But there, 2,000 people were making the Stations of the Cross.

Family groups from the parishes of Surbiton. Norbiton, New Malden, Worcester Park and Tolworth filled the stalls. dress circle and gallery, ringed by men wearing the red sash of the Blessed Sacrament Guild. In their hands were a programme " presenting " the Stations of the Cross, and a sheet of typed hymns.

On the stage, with their backs to the audience, stood the Holy Father's Delegate, Archbishop Godfrey, in his purple robes, and all the priests of the five parishes in cassock and cotta, with acolytes and wardens of the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament.

They were facing a screen on to which, as the Rev. Dr. Calnan conducted the Way of the Cross, the Stations were thrown in large coloured pictures.

There being no room to kneel, the people perforce had to remain seated throughout the service. The most they could do, as the Apostolic Delegate and the clergy knelt at the familiar words. " We adore Thee, 0 Christ . ." was to bow their heads.

At the Twelfth Station. "Jesus dies on the Cross," Archbishop Godfrey turned and preached to the people.

the Apostolic Delegate now in a box draped with the Papal arms-the stage was transformed into the deserted room of the Last Supper. and we heard again the story of Our Lord's Passion and Death. this time in the words and actions of Mgr. Robert Hugh Benson's play, The Upper Room."

This performance by the Catholic Social Club of New Malden can rarely have been surpassed.

This was due principally to the restrained yet dramatic acting of 16-year-old Sheila Leonard, a pupil of Holy Cross Convent School. as Samuel, Servant to Achaz, of Ernest Gibbs as Achaz, landlord of the Upper Room. and of Mary Greenslade as Mary, from the moment when the boy. looking down from the window into the street below. vainly cries out " Master!" to the unseen Christ about to begin His Passion to the time when Mary. standing at the long table of the Last Supper. confirms the Crucifixion by showing, one by one. the instruments of her Divine Son's suffering and death.




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