A MAN who moved thousands of people with his depiction of Jesus in Passion for Bolton last year was in Manchester at the weekend as he prepared to resurrect the role for “the greatest story ever told”.

Rob Slater, a father-of-two who lives in Kearsley, was at the Cathedral Gardens as part of the publicity for the Manchester Passion of the Christ. It is the first Passion in Manchester since 2006, and will be directed by Geoff Millard, the artistic director behind Passion for Bolton. The live retelling of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection will be played out in the Manchester Cathedral Gardens on April 8.

Mr Slater, aged 59, said it was “wonderful” to playing the part again. He approached organisers after receiving an email asking if he would support the production.

He said: “I thought it would be great to take on that role again, so I fired off an email and got a response immediately.

“After the Passion for Bolton, I said I wanted to to this every day and to be doing it again is wonderful.”

The production is still looking for people to be a part of the Passion in speaking and non-speaking roles and those wishing to take part do not need any acting experience.

Mr Slater said: “Rehearsals are going well and we have some fantastic people involved.

“It is a wonderful production to be part of it, it really touches you and stays with you. The response we had in Bolton was phenomenal.”

He added: “I think Cathedral Gardens is a very special venue in a lot of ways.”

Organisers of BBC’s Songs of Praise are interested in covering the production as part of one of their shows.

Nakib Narat, who put forward the idea of staging The Passion in Manchester this year, said: “We are staging it a week before, which will concentrate people’s minds for Holy Week.

“Geoff is excited about staging it in Cathedral Gardens because of the different levels, it is a hugely creative area for the production.”

Rehearsals are currently taking part in Chorlton twice a week. Mr Narat, an actor by profession, will be taking the role of Pontius Pilate. He said: “I saw Passion for Bolton last year and found it very moving.

“This one won’t be hugely different because it is the same story. We will have a 50-strong choir.

“It is hard to believe that Rob is not an actor and has never had training.”

The production is expected to attract crowds of 5,000 plus. For more information visit http://manchesterpassion.org/