Powerful story of slavery, freedom and grace
The performance of Amazing Grace, on Saturday evening at St Stephen's Church in Norwich, as part of the Celebrate Norfolk weekend was a powerful one, writes Clare Elkins.
It is based on the story of John Newton who had a tough life growing up in 17th century London and yet wrote one of the most famous hymns of all times.
Press-ganged into the navy at 19, flogged for desertion, and torn from the girl he loves, John Newton feels he has nothing to live for. Making his way into the harsh world of the eighteenth century transatlantic slave trade, he makes his living as an abusive trafficker of human flesh.
He is a man beyond redemption, making enemies of all he meets, on his way to hell. Then one stormy night, with his ship going down, he faces certain death... and nothing is the same again. This is a powerfully moving story of slavery, freedom and the remarkable power of love and grace to transform a life.
This is an influential story which was beautifully dramatized by the Saltmine theatre company. A small cast of five sang, played, and acted their way through the story, bringing to life John Newton’s testimony once again and challenging those of us who watched it with the grace and love of God.
The audience were moved to tears at times in the story and at others we joined in singing the famous words to the hymn Amazing Grace. The acting was outstanding, helping to transport us back into the 17th Century and the singing echoed around the venue of St Stephen’s church.
It was a wonderful evening and impressed on us the importance of bringing such stories to people through the creative medium of drama.
Pictured above, the cast of Amazing Grace perform a taster session at Celebrate Norfolk on Millennium Plain in Norwich.