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‘Who are we to decide Jesus was a man?’ — non-binary actor to play Messiah

Compiled by Mashudu Mabila

Jesus is set to be played by a non-binary actor in an upcoming theatre performance of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Edinburgh University’s students from the Savoy Opera Group are launching the world’s first gender-neutral production on Wednesday.

Roza Stevenson will play Jesus in the Edinburgh University adaptation. The role of Judas is also set to be performed by a woman.

The controversial musical was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. It was first performed in 1971 and has been filling theatres ever since.

The adaptation was approved by Lloyd Webber and Roza Stevenson, who uses the pronouns they/them, will play Jesus while the 12 apostles will be portrayed by female or non-binary performers.

According to the creative producer, Lew Forman, the production had adopted gender-blind casting to reinvent the story of Jesus’ final days for a modern audience.

“Jesus is remembered as being a man, but who are we to decide?” questioned Forman.

Forman said he was unaware of any objections raised by Christians or religious organisations.

Jesus Christ Superstar was never particularly beloved by the Christian community,” Forman said.

“It doesn’t end with the resurrection. It ends with Jesus being on the cross. It is neutral and ambiguous.”

Stevenson was delighted to be able to audition and gain the lead role, which has always previously been played by male actors.

“The group has taken a well-known story and made it something new and special,” said Stevenson.

Jesus Christ Superstar will run at Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh, from Tuesday until Saturday.

Pictured above: Jesus Christ Superstar rehearsal

Image source: The Times

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