Brendan Paul, 25-year-old actor and performer, found his love for acting during his high school years in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. After graduating HSC drama, Brendan took a liking to musical theatre, and has starred in productions as varied as Beauty and the Beast, The Producers, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, just to name a few.
His acting experience has seen him star in stage plays and short films, but his Christian faith takes centre stage when he portrays Jesus in the Wesley Mission Good Friday performance “Journey to the Cross”.
Taking place in the centre of Sydney on April 14, “Journey to the Cross” is a contemporary re-enactment of Jesus’s final hours. Music and drama combine for a performance that takes over Sydney’s CBD from Martin Place to the Wesley Mission centre on Pitt street.
“It is a huge responsibility that I do not take lightly,” explains Brendan about playing Jesus. “It’s a responsibility to know I am representing Jesus to a modern audience, and also trying to understand what things about Jesus need to be understood by an audience that may not know him. It is a huge responsibility to think that someone might see the character of Jesus from my performance; a scary thought, but one I want to make sure I treat with respect.
“The role has enriched my faith, to try and embody that love and everything that Jesus stood for. It reaffirms for me what and where my faith comes from and what a loving God we serve. This is actually the guy who died for me.”
The performance begins with a 35 minute dramatisation of Jesus’ last hours and then Brendan will carry the cross up the length of Pitt Street. As he processes through the middle of Australia’s biggest city, all roads are closed by police — so the cross can be carried all the way to the front of the Wesley Mission building.
“I was totally expecting people to interfere with the procession or even heckle, but no, there is a respectful air around the procession,” says Brendan. “The atmosphere of everyone actually reflecting on what it means to be walking with Jesus carrying his cross, and taking it in, is amazing. It’s compelling to take up our own cross in the same way.”