4Front Theatre brings religion to the theatre in Chipping

Natalie and Rob Holman
Natalie and Rob Holman
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A thespian’s two passions - religion and performing arts - have led to a perfect partnership in promoting the Christian faith in an entertaining way.

4Front Theatre, led by Garstang-born Rob Holman, is a touring company which produces Biblically-themed plays.

Rob Holman

Rob Holman

Its next performance is Fisherman’s Tail at Chipping Village Hall on April 15 at 7.30pm.

It is an hour-long musical, showing the life, death and resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of the fishermen disciples, as they discover what it means to be fishers of men.

Entry is free.

Rob says: “I became a Christian when I was young and I went to Garstang Pre Methodist Church on Sundays.

Rob Holman in The Gsus Story

Rob Holman in The Gsus Story

“My dad died when I was eight and then as a teenager I was bullied at school.

“I went to a youth group every Friday night and the people there cared for me and were always there for me.

“It was great being able to pray and know that I had God as a father. He was there with me through my life and supported me.”

The 26-year-old also found another source of belonging through the performing arts as he joined Garstang Theatre Group with his mum, Paddy.

At Cardinal Newman College he studied BTec performing arts and religious studies and this led on to him studying theology and performing arts at Regents Theological College in Malvern.

Whilst there he met his wife, Natalie, 25, who also shares his passions for drama and religion.

As they worked with several theatre companies, they decided to set up their own, encapsulating their Christian faith, and launched 4Front Theatre in 2014.

Rob says: “Our faith is at the forefront of what we do.

“We aim to entertain. Every year we have our pantivity, which aims to get the message out of why we celebrate Christmas, but it is also a fun celebration.

“Our first show was The Gsus Story, about a busker who went round Jerusalem, We wrote it ourselves and it is a different take on the Easter story.

“As it did so well, it became an ongoing thing and we have carried on, putting on more shows.

“Our aim is to further the arts world with performances of high quality and educate people in their Christian faith. It is also an opportunity for Christians to get to know each other in a way that is not as possible during a church service.”

Rob and Natalie are based in Worcester but they tour around the country with their performances.

Rob says: “We have good contacts in Lancashire so we have been a few times. We try to get to as many communities as we can. We have toured from as far as Newquay, all the way to Newcastle.”