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The Flint Street Nativity
By:
Date performed:
Tim Firth
Feb 2010

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Details
 Mizzis Horrocks' class of seven year olds is about to perform their play at Flint Street Junior School for the proud mums and dads - and the occasional social worker. Squabbles arise when Gabriel wants to play Mary, the Star grumbles he's not a proper star like they have at NASA, Herod won't stop waving to his mum and dad and the subversive Innkeeper is determined to liven up the traditional script. And then the stick insect escapes...

The children are played by adults, who later play their parents so the set changes accordingly to reflect the difference in scale. This warm, witty, funny play is an ideal alternative to the usual Christmas fare with original lyrics set to the tunes of the usual Christmas carols. It was performed to critical acclaim at the Liverpool Playhouse.

Thoughts from the Director
As neither of us has directed a full-length play before, it's fair to say that our first thoughts were "how on earth are we going to do this??" - With so many fantastic Tudor productions to live up to and such a wonderfully written script, we felt the pressure!

But, Tudor Players is the perfect place to serve your apprenticeship and this has truly been a team effort. The demands of the set will become clear to you as you join us in Mrs Horrocks' classroom - a massive thanks to Hansel, John, Bryan, Graham, Bradley and Paul for being able to think so BIG! Likewise Bridget's props list had some particularly odd things to find - and all at 50% extra size. She and Janet (costume maker extraordinaire) have been vital in bringing Flint Street to life. So thank you ladies! As for our motley crew of 7-year-olds, a huge thank you for all your time - for battling through the snow to get to rehearsals; for singing carols in the middle of February; for reliving all the school plays and for making us snort with laughter. You can all have 10 "who's been good" stickers.

We've had a blast at Flint Street and, on behalf of the whole class; we hope you enjoy our Nativity.
Fran and Stuart

Review, The Star 18Feb10
TIM Firth, of Calendar Girls fame, has come up with a clever idea. Stage a children's nativity but have it performed by adults. The compulsory embarrassing hiccups are here but are disorientating coming unexpectedly from grown ups. There are plenty of inspired moments here. Hitchcock's Psycho music is played when the naughty and rather scary child, John Mackinder, enters the room. Jenn Aspinall deadpans, does anyone want to see spitting blood? The Star of Bethlehem has lost a tooth.

By far the best moment in the play, which kept its magic even after much repetition, was John Fereday as Herod & Joseph grinning inanely at his dad in the audience. Mrs Horrocks' classroom was typically dysfunctional. Pam Bush is pure evil as Gabriel. She bullies poor teacher's pet, Carolyn Heslop and is jealous of her having the plumb role of Mary. The children are all troubled in some way by real problems such as divorce, social deprivation and violence. They each sing a cathartic carol with the words changed to suit their individual circumstances.

The play loses momentum in the second half as the novelty of Firth's idea wears off. A clever touch at the end, which could have been developed, was seeing the same cast playing the children's parents.
Stephen Grigg


Photographs
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Cast
Backstage
Innkeeper John Mackinder
Mary Carolyn Heslop
Wise Gold Claire Spencer
Shepherd Jenn Aspinall
Gabriel Pam Bush
Star of Bethlehem/ Ass Phil Gascoyne
Angel Nicky Beards
Narrator Edwina Gascoyne
Herod/ Joseph John Fereday
Wise Frankincense David Bramah

Directors Fran Larkin
Stuart Rooker
Set design Hansel D'Roza
Set construction Bryan Ashcroft
Hansel D'Roza
Paul Kelly
John Jakins
Graham Ward
Stage painting Janet Harrison
Mick Petty
Music Hugh Finnigan
Stage manager John Jakins
Sound Bryan Ashcroft
Lighting Paul Screaton
Projections Matt Screaton
Properties Bridget Ball
Costumes Janet D'Roza
Continuity Fran Larkin
Stuart Rooker
Front of house manager Carolyn Heslop
Friends of Tudor
Ticket Secretaries Geoff & Lynn Randle
Graham & Ann Ward