Islington teenager tells of dramatic crucifixion in church musical

PUBLISHED: 16:52 06 April 2011 | UPDATED: 10:42 07 April 2011

Teenager David Protheroe wears the crown of thorns in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Teenager David Protheroe wears the crown of thorns in Jesus Christ Superstar.


A TEENAGER has told of the dramatic moment he was crucified in a church during a sell-out production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

David Protheroe on the cross in the dramatic crucifixion scene.

The iconic rock opera was staged with David Protheroe - a pupil at St Mary Magdalene Academy in Liverpool Road, Islington - in the lead role.

The cast and crew was made up entirely of churchgoers and the show follows Jesus’ final days on earth ending with the crucifixion, presenting some tricky theatrical challenges for the amateur production.

David, who turned 18 on the show’s closing night on Saturday, March 26, said of his moment on the cross: “It was nerve-racking being up there in a loin cloth in front of everybody, but all the cast were really supportive and that helped me.

“We really wanted to shock everyone with the lifting of the curtain and revealing Jesus on the cross and I thought that went really well. I thought it was very powerful.”

The production's final scene.

The musical was staged at St Mary with St George Hornsey Parish Church in Hornsey and the teenager became involved after playing Judas in a school production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

David has had no formal theatrical training, other than completing a GCSE in drama, but his grandfather is a vicar and he spent time with other congregation members to develop his own modern interpretation of the role of Christ.

“It was very challenging trying to get everything right and trying to give as biblically accurate portrayal as I could,” said David who lives in Finsbury Park Road, Finsbury Park. “The character I created is confused, distraught, upset and at the same time very angry and frustrated with both God and how the crowd were viewing him and acting towards him.”

Jesus Christ Superstar originally opened in the West End more than 40 years ago and caused a wave of protest from some Christian groups because of its alleged reinterpretation of the final days of Jesus’ life.

It is rare for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical to be staged in a church – and the production proved popular, playing to sell-out audiences who queued out of the church door for tickets.

The church’s production was staged in memory of Father Geoffrey Seabrook, who was parish priest for 37 years before his death in January, aged 65.

Michael Baker, 50, who played Judas in the production and lives in Crouch End, said: “His widow said he would have loved it. That for me was the greatest compliment of all. What priest wouldn’t want to see people queuing out the door of his church?”

* If you are interested in taking part in any future production staged by Hornsey Parish Church, email Mr Baker on

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