Members of The Bradford Catholic Players have added their own twist to rock opera Godspell by setting it in Saltaire in the 1800s.

John the Baptist is a window cleaner in this production of the Biblical musical, starting tonight, and the cast are dressed as 19th century villagers.

"Godspell was written in the 1970s as a modern rock opera, presenting a contemporary view of the parables told by Jesus and his disciples," said Debbie Carroll of the Catholic Players.

"The story is based on the Gospel according to St Matthew. These are old parables told through modern music and choreography - the show is a celebration of music, mime, comedy and slapstick.

"We wanted to put our own slant on it, setting it in a different period. Godspell broke new ground in its treatment of the story of Jesus and we're taking it to another dimension.

"We thought what better place to stage a show than in a World Heritage Site?' Victoria Hall lends itself very well to this."

Written by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, Gods-pell opened in Broadway in 1971 and was made into a film two years later.

In the Catholic Players' show, devised by director Helen Clarke, John the Baptist appears as a window cleaner.

"In the Crucifixion scene at the end his ladders are made into a cross, it's very poignant," said Debbie.

"It's still very much the story of Godspell, set in a Victorian mill-working community.

"Jesus comes to the village and tells parables to the villagers. The characters start off wearing black, grey and white mill clothes, then they end up in colourful costumes."

Debbie said the themes of Godspell translate well to a close-knit industrial community.

"The story speaks of the passion of Jesus to teach love and joy in the hearts of people, rather than hate and sadness. It's about loving your neighbour, forgiveness, tolerance and celebration," she said.

"The score draws on modern musical influences."

Debbie, who has been with the Catholic Players for 30 years, starred in the title role of the society's production of Hello Dolly! last autumn, which raised more than £5,000 for Bradford charities.

This year the Players' main production is Annie Get Your Gun, running at the Alhambra in November. Proceeds will go to the Martin House Children's Hospice near Wetherby.

Godspell runs at Victoria Hall, Saltaire, from tomorrow until Saturday. Tickets are available on the door.