As many children know, lions can be found in wardrobes; whilst Bears and Dragons lurk beneath the cracks in the pavement. These don’t entirely disappear when we become adults, they just take different forms; they shape our world view; our fears and prejudices which inform how we navigate the grown up world of self-identity, relationships, community and belief. Beyond the wardrobe explores the playful world of childhood in the light of adulthood
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, was first published in 1950; since then it has become something of a classic; albeit not one without some controversy. The portrayal of Aslan the Lion as a Christ figure has been accused by some of perpetuating a reactionary view of faith; this messiah may well sacrifice himself for love, but he also leads the children into battle. But this is not the only way of looking at the Christ story; the Biblical book of Revelation (itself a work of fantastical poetic imagery) depicts Christ as a Lion who is transformed into a lamb; in other words his power is found in “powerlessness”, an image which relates well to the historical figure of Jesus, who challenged the prejudices of his day and welcomed the outcast; preferring to confront the violence of the heart through non-violent means.
In an age when social media seems to perpetuate an over aggressive sense of “self”, I thought it would be interesting to explore the Passion story from within our contemporary world, whilst also re-visiting the timeless land of childhood fantasy; to discover how “children of the wardrobe” cope with adulthood, and how they face their own personal beasts. Dean Akrill