Thousands expected at Chorley pageant

Mormon Temple at Chorley
Mormon Temple at Chorley
Share this article

Thousands of people are expected to attend a British Pageant in Chorley to mark the 175th anniversary of the Church of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles.

A marquee that will house 1,500 people is being erected at the Mormon Temple in Chorley for the event which will start on July 31.

The pageant is the first of its kind in Europe and the first to be held outside of North America.

In the US, pageants take place annually in Palmyra, New York; Nauvoo, Illinois, Manti, Castle Dale and Clarkson, and Mesa, Arizona.

This show will tell the story of when the first Mormon missionaries arrived in the UK in 1837 through music and acting.

It will be performed on a stage which is designed to provide for around 100 actors and extras, all of whom will be volunteers.

There will also be pre-show activities for people to join in with and everything will be transformed back to the 1830s, when the missionaries landed in Liverpool and then travelled to Preston and Chorley.

The activities will include dancing from the era, dressing up in costumes and playing games.

Bishop Christopher Pattenden, from the Preston Temple, said: “This will be the first official pageant of the Church of Latter-day Saints to take place outside of North America.

“In the USA pageants are a big part of Latter-day Saint culture in the summer months.

“These events commemorate important events from church history, the scriptures and have audiences of thousands each year.

“The British Pageant is to follow the same format but with a focus on the history of the church in the British Isles, written and performed by members from around the United Kingdom.

“The pageant will explore events surrounding the beginning of the church and the impact of these events through the years in the British Isles.”

The music in the pageant will be a mixture of traditional hymns, folk music and some original music.

The folk dance and country dance will also be accompanied by traditional and original music.

The storytelling script includes actual extracts from the journals of the early pioneers of the Mormon faith who left Great Britain and sailed across the ocean to the Americas. They are more than 150 years old.

The performances will run on July 31, August 1-3 and 6-10 and there will be a cast of 200.

The pageant is open to all, not just members of the Latter-day Saints, but entry is by ticket only.