Pupils from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe visited Stonyhurst College in Lancashire to watch a captivating play ‘Solider to Saint’. The play was a modern take on the story of Britain's first Christian martyr, St Alban.
A group of pupils from Year 9, watched the explosive one-act play ‘Soldier to Saint’ by RISE Theatre. The play, which packed an incredibly powerful punch, brought to life the inspirational story of St Alban.
RISE Theatre offers quality drama that is engaging, challenging and exciting to watch. The theatre company gives a fresh and modern take on social and moral issues. Informed by a Christian ethos they aim to create drama that provokes a response- whether to challenge, inspire, or entertain.
The play immerses the audience into the gritty world of London 2020 where religious expression has been made illegal. John Alban is an ordinary soldier whose life is about to change forever. As Christians are forced into hiding and rioting hits the streets, John strikes an unlikely friendship with a fugitive priest – a friendship that could cost him his life.
“It was a compelling piece of drama that pulled no punches as it explored a world where being a Christian was punishable by death,” explained Ms Emma Nolan, School Chaplain at Saint Paul’s. “The cast brought the story of St Alban into the 21st century – a decorated soldier who after a chance encounter finds himself offering refuge to a priest in hiding.”
Ms Nolan continued: “The play showed the complexity of relationships that can grow from nothing to something that changes lives and belief. The scene where John Alban relives an experience from the battle fields of Afghanistan and then asks Fr Emmanuel to baptise him was one of the most powerful in the play. It was incredibly moving and poignant.”
One pupil commented: “The play was set in a terrifying time of upheaval, when Christians are being persecuted and forced into hiding. The actors very effectively created the tension and rioting of the time. I enjoyed the play and the opportunity to visit Stonyhurst.”
Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s, said: “Faced with the choice of renouncing his beliefs or certain death, John refuses to walk away from the truth and is executed. This thought-provoking play challenges us to ask ourselves what we would do in such circumstances. Would we be prepared to make sacrifices for our family, friends and even strangers? Would we stand up for our beliefs?”