Church to become centre for arts and religion

ROCK musicians, singers, dancers and theatre groups could all soon be performing at the 15th century All Saints Church in Huntingdon s Market Square. Members of the newly-formed Friends of All Saints Church have said that they want the church to become a

ROCK musicians, singers, dancers and theatre groups could all soon be performing at the 15th century All Saints Church in Huntingdon's Market Square.

Members of the newly-formed Friends of All Saints Church have said that they want the church to become a community space and home for the arts as well as a place of worship.

The group is inviting artists to use the church as a venue for both rehearsal and performances, and also wants to see community groups use the building for meetings.

A launch evening is being held in the church on Friday, May 16, and will include a performance by Hinchingbrooke School Choir.


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Derek Bristow, chairman of the Friends of All Saints, told The Hunts Post: "We want the church to be used by people of all religions or none. We want everyone to enjoy the wonderful interior.

"We want it to become the centre of the community because it is in the Market Square in the centre of Huntingdon and the building lends itself to concerts and performances."

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The church, which has a central space in place of the conventional nave at the back, is already the "wet weather" venue for the annual Shakespeare at the George productions and has been used for lunch-time concerts by musicians from Hinchingbrooke School.

Mr Bristow said: "People feel that to put on a show in a church is somehow disrespectful - but that is not the case at all, we would welcome them.

"The church should be used by all community groups. It doesn't need to be anything to do with religion, it should be the hub of the town."

Church trustee, John Nunn, who owns the Card Gallery in Huntingdon's Market Square, added: "The church should be shared by everyone. We want people to enjoy the building."

With performances returning to the church it means that the theatre has gone full circle. Theatre started in churches and in the early Middle Ages actors were commissioned by the church to tell the stories of the New Testament and particularly act out the Stations of the Cross.

During the late Middle Ages the theatre moved out of the church when performances were considered too lude.

From then on, theatre took on its own secular life. Later on, the Puritans, including Oliver Cromwell, distained both elaborate church ritual and the theatre, which they regarded in the same dim, hedonistic light. The Lord Protector would not be amused to find that today, he has a public house, a bar and a defunct nightclub named after him - in his birthplace.

INFORMATION: The launch of future projects at All Saints Church, Huntingdon is on Friday, May 16 at 7.30pm. Contact Derek Bristow on 01480 383166 or e-mail derekhenry@bristow47.freeserve.co.uk

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