Faringdon Town Nativity
A celebration by Steve Bellamy
Friday 8 December 2017
Market Square, Faringdon
Directed by Carolyn Taylor
Produced by Gary Field
Performances start 6:00 pm.
Free event. Tickets not required.
FDS was asked to work in partnership, with the Town Council and Churches Together in Faringdon to stage an open air nativity play in the Market Square. The Vicar of All Saints Church, Steve Bellamy had a script, which had been performed in his previous parish, the city of Durham. We adapted this to make it more local to Faringdon and Oxfordshire.
Click to see a video of this production. Thanks to Philip Pugh for making the film and Dominic Regan, Al Cane, Helen Wilson and Anna Marlow for the use of their photographs.
A community choir was also assembled to provide musical accompaniment and a craft workshop was held to make beautiful paper lanterns for the choir to hold. FDS pulled out all the stops with various members in the cast, together with members of the local churches. Dave Headey, Alan Taylor, Adrian Wells, Jeni Summerfield, Sarah Couzens and Dominic Bullock of FDS were all performers. Carolyn Taylor was the Director, Gary Field was producer, Jeni Summerfield also sourced the costumes.
Most importantly it had been agreed that this would be a big community event with spectacular effects and a reasonable budget, which meant wonderful lighting and projection of pictures and carols onto buildings by Ian Chandler and a very demanding pre-recorded sound track, masterminded by Gary Bates with help from Steve Greening and Paul Mountford-Lister. There were also live animals, three camels for the Three Kings, provided by ‘Joseph’s Amazing Camels’ of Warwickshire and a beautiful donkey named Beatrice for Mary and Joseph. Needless to say Baby Jesus was a real baby, Master Jack Harrison aged 6 weeks at the time.
“Rehearsals in the Market Square were something of a trial as we dodged buses and passing traffic and coped with winter weather, but the Council thankfully arranged for one rehearsal with road closed. The tech rehearsal was still without lighting or the animals, so we had no idea really how it would all hold together on the night. We just had to cross fingers and go for it. All that was needed was for the weather to remain relatively fine, which it did, and for an audience to turn out. In fact 1000 plus members of the public came out to watch and the end result was a very special community event.” Carolyn Taylor
Historical note – a similar drama was performed in December 2000 under The Old Market Hall entitled ‘The Angel of the Lord’. The costumes were similar but no camels. It also drew a large crowd. It involved some members of FDS but was probably organised by the church.1 show was performed over 1 day.