AFTER years of planning and the involvement of more than 100 people, Bolton’s first Passion play was hailed a huge success.

The re-enactment of the Easter story in Victoria Square was enjoyed by hundreds who turned out to witness the event.

Now organisers are hoping to repeat the performance in coming years.

The audience was gripped by the play and many stood to watch the whole two-hour performance on the Town Hall steps as the sun shone down on Saturday afternoon.

Technical difficulties with the sound meant that the actors at the start could not be heard, but the problems were resolved after about 15 minutes.

But the audience was impressed with the production, which was set in the present day and even featured a television studio and presenters commentating on the action.

Sheila Reid, aged 62, from Pendlebury, said: “I came to Bolton just to see this and I watched it all the way through.

“I thought it was amazing. There was a bit of a blip at the start with the sound, but it was fantastic after that and I thought everyone did really well.”

Craig Hamer, aged 53, from Horwich, said: “I thought it was good. It is the truth and I believe it, which changed my life.

“This is a really important message and I found it quite difficult to watch as it is so very real to me.”

Olga Sarapuk, aged 60, from Smithills, said: “I think it was absolutely fantastic, only it was a shame that you could not hear it in parts.

“It must have taken a lot of time and hard work to put it together and I really hope that they do it again.”

The play featured videos of some scenes, including Jesus being brutally beaten.

He then came on stage, battered and bruised, and carried his cross to be crucified.

The production had been years in the making, involving more than 100 people, and cost £30,000 to put together.

Artistic director Geoff Millard — normally found directing plays at Farnworth Little Theatre — was delighted with the performance.

He said: “I am stunned.

I had a vision of how I wanted this to be on the steps, and it just came right today.

“It was amazing and everyone has worked so hard to make it. We will definitely be doing it again in a few years.”

Gerrard Collingborn, aged 14, from St James’ School in Farnworth played young Jesus.

He said: “The atmosphere was just electric. I had a feeling the crowd was going to stay and keep building up, once people started watching it they didn’t want to leave.”