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07 December 2010

Projecting Matthew on to Luke

Projecting Matthew on to Luke

A local community group in Hoylake, Wirral, are adding a surprising twist to the town's traditional Christmas Lights this year by projecting the 1964 Pasolini film The Gospel According to St Matthew onto the front of St Luke's Church in the town's High Street.

The idea is part of an initiative by the new voluntary group, Hoylake Village Life, to generate more animation and vibrancy to Market Street, the town's main retail street. It is hoped that the screening of this classic film onto a local church will become a real talking point amongst the local community.

It is intended that this lighting feature will be a sign of more to come, with the group seeking a more creative and sustainable approach to Christmas lighting in future years. The idea of creative lighting solutions came out of the group's concern about the cost and sustainability of putting up 'traditional' Christmas lights every year. The traditional high street Christmas lights typically require annual funding support to pay for installation, regular repairs and replacement.

The film's distributors, Palisades Tartan, were contacted and a special 'screening rate' was agreed to enable the film to be shown repeatedly after dark over the Advent and Christmas period.

The project co-ordinator, Mark Howard, has worked with national church organisations for over 20 years and sees this as one of the most exciting projects he has worked on.

"It is always worth looking at things differently. Christmas lights strike me as the ideal opportunity for the churches to engage with their local community more directly," he said.

"It is a simple way to get people both inside and outside church thinking about the Christmas story in a contemporary social context. These beautiful projected images create an ethereal effect as they move across the building; it is quite moving to watch.

"We are especially grateful to Palisades Tartan and Rev Anthony Clowes of St Luke's Methodist Church, Hoylake, for their support of this project."

The film is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful films ever made, using ordinary local people as actors, and drawing on the traditional 'rappresentazione sacre' form of performance traditionally used in Italian theatre in religious drama. Christ is portrayed by Pasolini as someone deeply concerned with issues of social justice, challenging the political and religious authority of the elders of the day.

The group will invite people from the community as well as local and national artists to help create new and innovative lighting projects over the coming years.