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SALT LAKE CITY — In a once-in-a-lifetime event, the first official pageant of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be held outside the United States will take place in the United Kingdom this summer.
In the United States, Mormon pageants are a big part of LDS culture in the summer months. Each year, pageants are held in Manti, Utah; Palmyra, N.Y.; and Nauvoo, Ill. Others have been held in Castle Dale, Utah; Clarkson, Utah; and Mesa, Ariz. These events commemorate important events from church history and the scriptures and have audiences of thousands each year.
The British Pageant, which will be staged on the grounds of the Preston Temple in Lancashire, England, will follow the same format as the American pageants but will focus on the history of the LDS Church in the British Isles.
"Throughout their history, the British people have demonstrated their desire to do God’s will, requiring personal sacrifice and tremendous courage," according to lds.org. "This pageant will tell the story of Latter-day Saints who have sacrificed much to build their faith, and to strengthen their communities."
The pageant will focus on three main themes, drawing on the history of the British Isles and the Restoration of the LDS gospel, according to James Holt, communications director for the British Pageant. Drawing on historical figures, the pageant will open "by celebrating their important contributions in laying the basis for religious freedom and the Restoration," Holt writes for the Deseret News. "Against the background of the Restoration and the arrival of the first Mormon missionaries in 1837, the pageant will tell the story of Latter-day Saints who have sacrificed much to build their faith and to strengthen their communities."
The pageant, titled "The British Pageant: Truth Will Prevail," will be written, staged and performed entirely by members of the LDS Church in the United Kingdom and nearby areas. Since the announcement of the pageant in late 2012, the call has been sent to local members to become involved in all areas of the pageant. Applications have poured in from those seeking to be musicians, core cast, carpenters, family support, costume designers, hair dressers, security, first aid, choir members, family cast, stage crew and many more, according to the pageant's website. Some have simply said, "I'll do whatever is needed."
Elder Stephen C. Kerr, Area Seventy and president of the pageant, has issued a last request for people to become involved in any way with the various activities. “It’s a call to action and one last invitation to be a part of modern-day church history. Now is the moment to ask everyone who might have any interest in being a part of the Pageant to make that interest known.”
The pageant will be held July 31, Aug. 1-3 and 6-10. In addition to the main evening performances, pre-show performances and other activities will also be held. Applicants and volunteers are still needed. More information can be found at britishpageant.org.