The Christmas Production

For 11 years I wrote and directed a Christmas Production that was performed by children and had a cast of over 100 in acting roles, dancing roles or singing in the choir.

The stable is bare - let the show begin

The stable is bare – let the show begin

While you can’t go past the opportunity to tell the greatest story ever told, what I loved was seeing children being able to gain so much enjoyment from having an opportunity to perform in front of an audience of around 1,500 people.  And the children didn’t just like being on stage, they loved the rehearsals, the costume fittings, having their hair and make-up done, being sprinkled with glitter (lots of glitter – there was never any reason to pull back), and the free pizzas they enjoyed every performance night.

It's just not Christmas unless we have Elvise

It’s just not Christmas unless we have Elvise

To put on ‘Starry Starry Night’, I worked with a team of very talented people, but we all agreed most of the talent came from our costume designer, Ali.  Without her, the show just wouldn’t have had the brilliance or the ‘wow factor’ that it did.  Every night the children performed you could hear an audible gasp from the audience as the next group of performers came on stage dressed and styled in Ali’s creations.

The Choir

The Choir

Every August my producer and I would contact Ali hoping and praying she would be keen to help out for yet another season.  With three children and a full-time job we knew she didn’t have a lot of spare time.  We would hold our breath for her response and try to contain ourselves when she would say she’d give it another go.  ‘What do you have in mind?’ she’d cautiously ask because there didn’t seem to be any limit as to what sort of creatures I imagined could have been in the stable with Mary and Joseph.

A spider

My daughter as a spider and her sparkly web just above her

 

The narrators of the story - a very coveted role

The narrators of the story – a very coveted role

‘Nothing challenging’, I’d say, (lying through my teeth), just perhaps some spiders, and a few moths, no more than six, and we thought perhaps the stable could have been near a stream and out of the stream could come some fish, rainbow fish, but not too many, and you know how we have a Heavenly Host?  Well this year we thought it would be really cute if the Heavenly Host arrived with a team of Junior Trainee Apprentice Angels who would be gorgeous three to four year old girls but we don’t have to have too many, and …’

The fish dance

The fish dance

 

A fish

A fish

Angel GabrielAngel Gabriel

An angel with her Junior Trainee Apprentice Angels

An angel with her Junior Trainee Apprentice Angels

‘Anything else?’ ‘Not really.  Except I thought that perhaps it could have been windy the night Christ was born so I thought we could have a group of girls dressed as a breeze and they could dance around with lots of flowing blue fabric’.

A breeze

A breeze

‘How many?’ ‘We don’t need that many.  Just a few’. ‘Anything else?’ ‘Any chance of some Christmas Puddings?  And some Christmas Trees?’

A couple of Christmas Puddings

A couple of Christmas Puddings

 

A tired Christmas Tree

A tired Christmas Tree

And even though I was making it sound like it wasn’t much, we all knew that it was.  And even though I said, ‘We don’t need many’, she knew that more children would audition than we had places for and with no will to turn anyone away, six Junior Trainee Apprentice Angels would become 12 and two Christmas Puddings would become eight.  But Ali would catch the vision and be ever so enthusiastic as we discussed the new show and instantly she’d have ideas swirling around in her head.

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

 

Reindeer

Reindeer

From August until December, every week at church she would arrive with a bag of things to show me (but not during the sermon!)  And there would be feathers, lots of feathers, and beads and sequins and sparkles, all held in place by her hot glue gun.

Three French Hens

Three French Hens with a cloud in the background

 

Four Calling Birds

Four Calling Birds

 

Joy

Joy

 

Five Golden Rings

Five Golden Rings

 

Nine Ladies Dancing

Nine Ladies Dancing

They were wonderful times and very special times and apart from having the opportunity to share the greatest story ever told we hoped the children would have some very warm memories of their childhood Christmases.  But as is often the case, we just didn’t know how much we would get out of this ourselves.

Lambs and shepherds

Lambs and shepherds

 

The stable starts to fill

The stable starts to fill

 

The shepherds and their sheep - we always had a bit of trouble with the sheep!

The shepherds and their sheep – we always had a bit of trouble with the sheep!

 

Bunny rabbits

Bunny rabbits

During the week a photographer from the church posted me a CD containing images she’d taken of three years of the production, 2006, 2007 and 2008.  As I looked through the images it brought back some very special memories so I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

As the story builds, the manger fills

As the story builds, the stable fills

A lily

A lily

The lilies dance

The lilies dance

The full cast

The full cast

All images are owned and are the property of Dee Teal. To see a time when we actually had the wise men arrive on live camels and to see when Mary would arrive on a live donkey, and when Archie was a Drummer Boy and another time when he was a Narrator and when Arabella was the Angel Gabriel and when we had a moon and clouds and bumble bees in the production, please enjoy a short DVD.  You need to click on ‘Starry Starry Night’ to get the video to play.

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Comments

  1. OMG I’m in love with this production. I cracked up at the sheep. They win the prize for me. :) How much did it cost to put on something like this? You must go to a very wealthy church. :)

  2. Wow, just wow! The costumes are just amazing as is the whole production…and you did this every year?! So lovely to keep the memories going with the DVD and excellent photos.

  3. The costumes are wonderful! Wonderful to have a costume designer that could match the vision :)

  4. Broadway I say, Broadway–brava

  5. Those bumble bees! And the live donkey and camels?!? Charlie, you were in charge of this for 11 years? AMAZING! I got chills and my eyes welled up as I watched this! I’m not even kidding, but then you know I have a soft spot for THE greatest story EVER told!! That is just amazing, Charlie…just amazing. Makes me love you all the more!! xo

  6. This is absolutely incredible. What a production. I cannot imagine the hours of work and talent involved. Kudos, a thousand times kudos.

    Where was this performed?

  7. I am amazed at all the children you got on the stage year after year. I can understand not wanting to turn any of them away. They were all so cute in their costumes especially the bunnies and sheep but the fish were so unexpected. I would have never pictured a Christmas pudding or a Christmas tree on a stage. That enthusiastic little star running to take its place at the top of the stairs made me smile. Ali did an extra-ordinary job putting together your vision. Your own family’s contribution must have been so satisfying as well.

    Congratulations for what must have been very successful productions and a joy for everyone who attended the performances.

  8. That is truly a stunning production and the costumes are amazing! I can’t imagine the amount of time it took to make those, or to plan out such an event. And the money, too! Live camels and horses, wow! Definitely some work to be proud of and it looks like all the children were having a blast. Bravo.

  9. Take a bow! The whole show looks simply amazing. It must have been heartwarming to have put a smile of so many peoples faces :-)

  10. That is something to be so proud of. What beautiful costumes worm by beaming children. What a classic example of how giving something ack is so very satisfying. Ali would but many movie costume designers to shame.
    Carolyn

  11. The one person made ALL those costumes? Oh my goodness, that’s unbelievable! What an amazing production you put on, Charlie!

  12. An Oscar plus for costume design I would say……………..

  13. Waw, what cute & fun costumes & what fun for these performing kids!

    Pretty cool all together! :)

  14. How very wonderful indeed Charlie! Those costumes are almost beyond belief, they are simply stunning! How wonderful to have such a great team to work with too, it makes all the difference. I know from personal experience how tricky kids productions can be- sometimes it’s like herding cats- so I’m even more blown away by the professionalism here. Thanks for sharing sweetie xox

  15. What an incredible production, the amount of effort would be amazing! And it would have been gorgeous to watch :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  16. Wow! What a production! I am in awe of you yet again.

  17. Lovely to see the pix getting another airing, glad they got there in one piece!!

  18. I had no idea you’d been involved with these productions! What an amazing thing to be part of – and indeed drive – and thank goodness for Ali too. I’m sure you have left many children and their families with wonderful memories of their contributions to a Christmas production. I am so impressed :)

  19. Oh my, how wonderful! That is not a production that is a SPECTACULAR. Love the sheep and the 5 golden rings…..no, I love all of it…… it was all absolutely beautiful. Well done, Charlie & Ali and all who would have been involved.

  20. What a wonderful production! I’ve organized and directed dozens of Christmas performances through the years, some quite large, yet nothing even close i scale and artistry to this! I love the costumes and the energy coming from the children. What joy! And the Christmas puddings are just a brilliant addition. :-)

  21. Wow you are a woman and family of many many talents :)

  22. The kids are adorable and the costumes are stunning. I am sure they could pack in a full audience and a second night too!

  23. Wow! Amazing. I’m actually wordless (hard to believe?!?!?) I was the Virgin Mary in our church play when I was 8 or 9 but it was nothing like that! What a spectacular production Charlie!

  24. Gosh, this great! You really know how to put on a show. Fun post — thanks.

  25. You made some magnificent memories for all these children and their families. Such fun!!!

  26. You created something very special indeed Charlie!!!! I loved being apart of it. It was a very special time for us all….you and me and Jen( our producer) seemed to be the perfect combination. Man, we had some laughs. I really do not know how we did it with all those kids (and animals )…..so much fun seeing all those kids so excited before they went on stage and when they got to try on their costumes for the first time. I think I even got to cajole the MD to wear a jester suit I made one year……very funny. Lots of funny moments…..thankyou again Charlie for all your kind words my friend, lovely (loving ) timing. xxx

  27. I am chuckling as I finish reading your hilarious post. :-) Oh gosh, it reminds me of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. What a daunting and magnificent event you guys put on year after year. :-) You’re crazy and wonderful. :-)

  28. I am out of breath just reading this. My goodness its fantastic.

  29. Wow incredible Charlie. that one lady did all that. how did she do it. the whole production must have taken a LOT of time

  30. That’s so cool that you wrote and directed the Christmas production! What a fun tradition :) Really great costumes!

  31. Wow, Charlie!! What an incredible accomplishment…and for 11 years! You’re right, Ali is very talented. What impressive and beautiful costumes. A lot of work and maybe stress too, but I bet you all just had the best time seeing it all come together! :)

  32. I used to hate being in school plays. Always seemed like all the popular kids got all the good parts – even in the last year in school. At that time, they tried to give a better role to the final year students. I think I had a part with a couple of lines… “Major Domo” in “Annie get your gun” or something :D

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