Monday, August 19, 2013

The First British Pageant!

I know there are probably many other things I could update you on. But let's skip all that and talk about THE BRITISH PAGEANT!

At the beginning of the year I had a facebook friend, who has been involved in many church productions in Utah and Nauvoo, IL, share a link to a website that explained that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints would be staging its first Pageant outside the USA. The pageant would take place in Preston England and it would share the story of the British converts to the church. I also knew it would have something about some early Martyrs and reformers. Although I didn't know much about the production, I decided to send in my application. It's true that I am an American and Ulises is a Spaniard and we really have no business being in a pageant for Britian, but I felt that I wanted to  at least try applying. I wanted Ulises to experience some of the same joy I had experienced doing pageants for the church back in the states. I participated in Savior of the World, ( At the conference center theater in Salt Lake City) and also dipped my toe in the Nauvoo pageant performances before they were taken over to Nauvoo, IL. And I knew this project would have the potential to be just as life changing. I wanted to share something like this with my husband

In February Ulises and I were told that we were accepted to be participants in the Pageant. Well, I was given the good news and then I told Ulises what I had done and how we had been accepted. I told him WE WILL GO! I have such a great husband. He agreed with no problems! While living here in Europe we could choose to spend our vacation time and money traveling around the south of France, In Italy or in big cities like London ( in fact, when we first told people we were going to England they automatically assumed London). But we chose to not take a relaxing sea front or resort vacation. We chose to roll up our sleeves and go put on a large scale pageant in a small city in the north of England.  Why? Because we knew it would change our hearts and hopefully the hearts of others who would see it.

Best. Decision. Ever
We were there for 10 days. 7 days of rehearsals and 3 days of performances. We had working days that began at 9:00 in the morning and concluded at sometimes 11:00 at night. Other members of the cast and crew were required to pull longer days. The choreographers were running around giving directions to almost 200  amateurs. I think it must have been something like herding cats. The directors were blocking and then changing scenes. The stage was still being painted and the lights were still being timed when we put on our first dress rehearsal in front of an audience. But it was a true miracle! A couple hundred volunteer workers and performers  had successfully put on a large scale pageant!  And with a blink of an eye we performed our last performance and took a plane back home to Barcelona.

It was like a dream!

Its so hard to explain what took place during those 10 days. I kept a personal journal to keep track of my feelings. I recorded how the spirit of the Lord entered my heart strongest when the Missionaries entered the stage during the Finale. I wrote and expressed my absolute gratitude and awe for the many  martyrs and reformers who provided the way for the Bible to be translated into English and who gave their lives for the word of God to be accessible to everyone. I also gained a stronger witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. My journal is full of the names of Modern day pioneers from the British Isles who I grew to love and admire while working along side them. I met Scots and Welsh and many varieties of English people. They were all so lovely. We all became  friends almost instantly and there was a love and a bond between all of the people dedicated to this project. Many times we would describe our community as Zion--one in heart. And most importantly my journal has recorded how my testimony of Jesus Christ has grown. He is our Redeemer. During the final scene the stage is full of the entire cast singing the Hymn  "Redeemer of Israel". We stood there as cast members, shoulder to shoulder, looking into the eyes of the audience while testifying through song that Jesus is our shadow by day and our pillar by night (a reference to the Old Testament, how God led the Children of Israel to the promised land) and that he can and will redeem us. Of all the wonderful things that were portrayed on stage, the most important message we gave to our audience is our knowledge of Jesus Christ role in our lives. I feel so grateful to have been able to share my testimony and let my light shine. I feel so blessed to have added a little oil to my own lamp and be better prepared for difficult times in the future.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is happiness my friends. It teaches what we need to do to get peace in this life. I feel so privileged to have shared this good news in this spectacular way.

Please watch these two videos to understand why the pageant took place. They aren't too long 5-10 minutes in length.

(you can see Uliess and I dancing in this one!)

And enjoy some pictures taken by myself and some friends

Stick pull with our friend Samuel

We found this car while wandering around town. Ulises couldn't be kept away!

These little girls were CRAZY!! playing with the fan one night in the greenroom. We love them!

Neil and Ulises with sweet Rachel

Ulises with Lauren. The cute little tornado.

Part of Downham

I loved the lights on site.

My friend Liesel

Our friend Cameron and his parents took us to beautiful sites nearby

It's Neil!

Old school. Except the color of the yarn is totally not 19th century.

The Preston Temple

Ulises and Niel and me

giving out old fashioned sweets to the kids at the pre-show activities

In the "green room" (tent) out back. I love you Amy

Rehearsals were always fun. And our matching clothes were simply coincidental

This was when we arrived at the liverpool airport. Our excitement cannot be contained!

In the small town of Downam. This site is historically significant to the church in regards to British converts

The Pageant Theater. it held 1800 audience members!

 and then these professional photographs taken by our talented Photographer Marie Barber.
Showcasing the reformers during the Finale

Ulises and I trying to dance

Part of the Scene when the ship goes up. It was a lot of fun

The Preston family. We were grouped with them for the production and we love them so much!

Some of the actors being quite animated. They all did very well

I just thought this was a sweet picture. 

Remember when I said the Coreographer was trying to manage all of us amateurs? Well this is the result of her hard work ( she did, however, say that she had fainted with joy)

Approaching the activities and Pageant Theater


Preston town square dance


You can see me and part of Ulises eyes in this picture. Singing our hearts out!