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Norwich church witnesses daughter come to life 

Through his musical ‘Daughter’ Mark Albanie has created a fresh retelling of the life and teaching of Jesus, refracted through the characters who saw and heard him.

A multi-talented cast performed ‘Daughter’ at St Thomas Norwich on March 17 and 18, supported by precision production and direction and top-quality sound and costumes. For the audience it was an emotionally charged experience, weaving between humour and pathos, as Jairus’ daughter returned from the dead and shared the contents of her diary.


The author blessed Jairus with a second daughter, contrasting but equally gifted, which made for some lively family dynamics and some surprising scenes, as both turned out to be accomplished singers and dancers. The atmosphere built as impressions of Jesus were skilfully retold and the audience was continually taken aback by the talent of the performers.


Hilary Harrison on the keyboard led a group of musicians in the shadows to the side of the church – it sounded so much like a professional recording that you almost forgot they were there. Andrew Piper as graphic designer displayed his usual creative flair, creating a cascade of moving colours and period stills as a backdrop for the first-century characters.


An imaginative use of videos enabled the involvement of a wider cast, whose outdoor scenes were interspersed with those of the live actors. One ambitious reconstruction involved the dismantling of a roof and the lowering of a paralysed man through it on ropes.


It was a unique approach, and with a light touch on a crucial subject, Mark Albanie managed to create a performance which was both accessible and impactful. For those who missed it, we share some pictures below.

Lydia – the daughter of Jairus, opens her diary and brings the story to life.


Centurion Erroneous struggles to drill the wayward members of a somewhat slapstick legion: Supercilious, Circuitous, Laborious, Agrippa et al.


The restored family: thankful but rather bemused by their miracle 


Jairus’ friend Nathan – coming to terms with the identity of Jesus against the background of his Jewish faith.


A close father-daughter relationship – Lydia’s sister Rachel adds some spice to the mix


“All I have need of, His hand will provide, He’s always been faithful to me.”


The musicians: inconspicuous but stunning.


Lydia in old age looks back on a life of marvels.

Images: Hannah Brooks



Eldred Willey, 21/03/2023

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