Fluffy little sheep, cute angels, donkeys, shepherds, wise men, Mary, Joseph and of course the baby Jesus – the wonderful tradition of the school nativity play. But just how are schools going to put them on this year when there are still so many unknowns being thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic? For many children, the school nativity is their only chance in the year to experience that wonderful process of piecing together a large-scale production, taking it from initial rehearsals and learning the songs, through to preparing the scenery, bringing in costumes, putting the scenes together and seeing the whole performance come to life. In many schools the excitement and anticipation of this Christmas tradition brings a great sense of unity and belonging, alongside an enormous sense of achievement, boosting self-confidence and bringing many children out of their shell and on to the stage. Through this, they learn valuable life lessons about dealing with nerves, working in a team and standing up in front of an audience – essential skills for now and for later life.
But this year is different. How can we possibly uphold the school-nativity tradition and bring to it all that we usually see in its performance? And with the added complication of singing, surely it’s easier just to put it on hold for a year. Not at all! Do not despair! The nativity musical is alive and well. As someone who regularly puts on musicals in schools, I have thought and thought around this unprecedented complication and come to the conclusion that there are so many ways to give the children the same wonderful experience with just a few little pandemic-friendly tweaks.
Options for smaller groups
Firstly, if you are only able to work with a much smaller group than usual this year, why not turn this into a fabulous opportunity for each child to have a more central role in the play? A speaking part each, a solo here and there and maybe some little choreographed dances. Putting on several nativities in smaller groups could be a wonderful way to see each child blossom in a larger role than usual.
For some nativity suggestions for smaller cast sizes visit our Nativity Finder by clicking the age ranges below...
Options for bubbles
Secondly, if you are working with different bubbles, this need be no barrier to putting on one nativity between them. For two bubbles, there are various nativities out there that split perfectly into a contemporary set of characters and a traditional set of nativity characters, so the scenes could be filmed separately and pieced together easily on a readily available platform such as iMovie. Perfect if there is no way of having a live audience this year. We have put together an easy-to-use Nativity Finder to help you locate the perfect nativity for your specific circumstances this year.
If you’re working with more than two groups, each group could take a different scene to film, and someone with a little more editing experience could put it together for you to send out to your would-be audience or stream live online. The filming aspect could present new opportunities for children who would prefer to work on production rather than on stage, and they could be responsible for preparing and charging the recording equipment, setting it up and monitoring it all during the performance. What a wonderful opportunity to produce a well-thought-through video keepsake of your nativity musical this year.
With our extended Performance Licences and COVID-19 Licence Guarantee, you can buy your Christmas nativity or musical now with confidence. Our feature-boosted licences allow you to record, film and stream your performance online for family and friends if they are unable to attend. And if you need to cancel your performance, our COVID-19 Licence Guarantee means you can simply give us a call and we will extend your licence for 12 more months free of charge.
For some nativity suggestions that have bubble options visit our Nativity Finder by clicking the age ranges below...
Lastly, if you’re not singing yet in school, this needn’t be the reason for not putting on a nativity. How about using the audio tracks on the CD, getting your percussion box out and creating lovely accompaniments to them? Or, could you choreograph some socially distanced dances or actions to each song instead? Again, this could be a perfect opportunity to showcase children with a particular talent in this area, and we have plenty of dance videos available to give you simple choreographed dances for specific nativities or general ideas for creating your own routines.
For some nativity suggestions that have non-singing options visit our Nativity Finder by clicking the age ranges below...
I really believe that there has never been a better time to give your nativity a special makeover and present it in a slightly different way, providing the children with greater and more diverse opportunities. Indeed, 2020 is surely the year to create an even more exciting and memorable nativity experience than ever before!
Written by: Rebecca Kincaid, Senior Editor and Writer
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USED IT? LOG IT! Most schools have a CWCL licence from Christian Copyright Licensing Limited (CCLI) - more information can be found here. This licence grants permission to display song lyrics and music from Out of the Ark Music’s Words on Screen™ Singchronize™ Player and CD ROMs, on any projection screen as well as download and share lyrics and music. Whenever you use our songs, please make note of your usage and then log your songs on your CCLI copy report, so that song writers and copyright holders are paid for their work.
Out of the Ark Music has been providing schools across the country – and world – with wonderful primary school musicals and primary school songs for nearly 30 years. Our Christmas musicals and nativity plays make children sparkle and shine, year after year, as they proudly perform their school Christmas play. Our extensive collection of fun and joyous Easter songs, harvest songs, school assembly songs, leavers songs and even space songs, fill schools with laughter and give students and teachers alike, a reason to sing every day of the week. We’re glad you’re supporting us in our dreams of creating the best music for schools around the globe. Read more about us here.