This is the third year that we have invited the children from Waunarlwydd Primary School to St Barnabas to tell them the story of the birth of Jesus.
We are delighted that this year Ysgol Login Fach also accepted our invitation, despite the fact that we are unable to offer the performance through the medium of Welsh.
Three Animals and a Baby, from the book by Philip Watson was chosen as a way of telling the story this year. As you can see from the photos, donkey, cow and lamb had an excellent view of all that took place in the stable on that wonderful night and the story is told from their perspective.
The puppeteers and narrators worked together perfectly to make the animals lifelike and give them real character. For most performances we had sufficient cast for three shepherds and three wise men but once or twice two of the shepherds had to do a quick change and come back on as wise men. The knitted beards provide a wonderful disguise.
I am sure you will have noticed that once again we had a ‘real baby’ playing the part of baby Jesus. Noel, at five months, is the youngest cast member and Peggy, who took on the roles of both a shepherd and a wise man, is 93 (another of our wise men, Gwen is in her 80s). There was a definite ‘ecumenical’ element too, with members from local chapels helping out as wise men.
At the end of each act the children joined together to sing a relevant verse of The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy – we used our lovely new television for the music and words and enlisted the help of another member of one of the village chapels to set it up and operate it for the first few days before we were able to find somebody to stand in.
There were eight performances in all, one at the start of the 10am Holy Eucharist service on Sunday, November 19, especially for members of the congregation – who it must be said are very supportive of our relationship with the schools and have made no objection to a ‘stable’ being in place across the chancel steps for 10 days.
We all had a great time – and are fairly certain the children and teachers did too – and are now exhausted, but already thinking up ideas for next year.
Rev Julie Wagstaff