Sharon (Muiruri) Coyne: Founding member.
Writer of ‘Through the Eyes of a Child’ and Artistic Director (2008- 2018)
The Poole Passion (TPP) was inspired by a set of tableaux, called The Passions, at a London exhibition of Bill Viola, viewed by Sharon in the wake of the death of her father , William Sims. After conversations with Rev Nigel Lloyd and Jonathan Martin, this idea developed into her writing a full-scale play Through The Eyes of a Child. The play would begin in Parkstone United Reform Church and finish at St. Peter’s Parkstone, involving a walk – or procession – from one Church to the other. This follows a long tradition of pilgrimage and, even though it is a short distance, a different dynamism occurs where the audience suddenly become actors. Some participants have described a sense of it feeling ‘real’, as if they were there in the times of the crucifixion. Roger Bayldon later joined the fledgling group as producer and so began TPP.
TPP originally had no plans of being anything other than a one off. A couple of months before its very first performance, Sharon’s mother Joan died and for her the writing of the final stages of Jesus’s life became a part of her expression of grief. When the play had its very first sharing, back then a much smaller event with a very limited budget, it had an appeal and people quickly started to talk about it as a “tradition”. With a desire from both actors and the local community, it was decided that the play should continue. Partly due to Sharon’s work as an applied drama practitioner, she was able to draw in a very diverse group of intergenerational faith and non-faith people, including ex-prisoners, ex-homeless, and those in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
Over ten years later, The Poole Passion is a well established organisation both nationally and internationally. Sharon says:
“Creating Through the Eyes of A Child was a bittersweet experience. Through the process I was able to express some of my grief and also be reminded of the hope of the Easter Story.
The Poole Passion has been a huge part of my life and that of my immediate family, Martin, Muiruri and Gabriel who have all contributed in some way. Personally, although at times hectic, crazy, frustrating and tiring, it has been an absolute honour to work with hundreds of different people and be a part of the very special TPP family. We are a totally eclectic group who, through the common endeavour of creating a play, come together and make not just beautiful performances with music, dance, lighting, imagery and acting. We capture the essence of community and love. For me, it has been a labour of love and a deeply enriching experience. I have learnt a great deal. Long may the The Poole Passion continue.”
Sharon is Associate Fellow at Winchester University. Much of her freelance practice involves the use of Applied Drama with marginalised groups. Founder and Artistic director of Vita Nova. She is also co director of State of Play, a reincarnation of Bournemouth Theatre in Education Team,
She is an accomplished writer, freelance director and facilitator.