Role as Jesus both excites and terrifies 

Norwich-born actor Freddy Goymer is set to return to his hometown to take on the leading role of Jesus in the Norwich Passion Play this Easter – an opportunity which both terrifies and inspires him.

For the past ten years, the 31-year old has toured the country and beyond acting with Christian theatre company, Saltmine, who are coming to Norwich on Easter Saturday, April 16.

Taking on the leading role of Jesus, set during the last days of his life, death and resurrection, Freddy said: “I am excited to be able to share this incredible story in Norwich which is a city close to my heart. It is a real privilege and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It also makes me feel quite vulnerable and frankly terrified as it will be out on the streets of my birth town for anyone, including family and friends to see.
“It is a big responsibility to play Jesus and bring a bit of who I know and believe the Son of God to be,” said Freddy, “as the gospel story is very close to my heart. I hope I can convey the heart and message of Jesus through the performance.

“People have this idea of Jesus in a long white robe with a big beard and living a long time ago. I hope to help bring a relevant, radical, modern-day Jesus to the streets.”

There will be two free performances of the play in and around Millennium Plain at 11am and 3pm.

“As a theatre company we are really keen that it is an open performance on the streets and it is free to watch,” said Freddy. “For us, it is about engaging as many people as possible. We hope it grabs the attention of people who may have been shopping just a few minutes earlier. We would like the performance to provoke questions for the audience.

“We want people to maybe ask ‘Is this theatre or is this real life?’. That is why we set it in a modern  context. If Jesus came to earth today, who would he reach out to? We hope it stands out and for people to realise that this is relevant for them today in 2022.”

Freddy was born in Norwich and grew up attending Notre Dame High School, leaving to study Ancient History at the University of Reading.  He joined the Saltmine Theatre Company intern programme in 2012 before taking it on as a full-time job. 

He describes acting as “a life-long dream,” inspired by going to see the West End production of The Lion King when he was ten.

“Acting is the one time when you can talk and no one interrupts!” he jokes. “No, I love telling a story,” he says. “And I love seeing what stories do to people – whether it makes them laugh or cry. People can walk away from the theatre feeling so much happier or joyful than when they walked in or thinking about their life in a slightly different way.  That, for me, is why I want to do acting.”

Freddy now lives in the West Midlands, where Saltmine Trust is based, with his wife Beth, who is also from Norwich and they have just had their first child which was “a life-changing experience” and “the best decision we ever made” he said.

Pictured above is Norwich-born actor Freddy Goymer who will be playing Jesus in the Norwich Passion Play on Saturday April 16.