A Nativity for York

Early in 2019 the Trust decided to stage an hour-long Christmas Nativity, drawing from the Plays making up the Nativity Cycle. This presented an opportunity for actors, musicians and stage crew to participate in the Christmas Festival, and for citizens and visitors to take time out of the Christmas frenzy to sit down and celebrate the story of Christmas in the heart of York.

The production, staged at the Spurriergate Centre in the city centre, was a great success drawing an audience of over 500. The intention is to stage A Nativity for York again in December 2020. However, the current pandemic may prove to be longer lasting than we think, but we will proceed with our plans (at a distance of course). If we are unable to present the play in December, everything will be carried over to 2021. Announcements will appear on our Home page.

A Nativity for York

Philip Parr, a widely experienced director of theatre, opera and festivals, chiefly as artistic director of Parrabbola, created a moving and contemporary drama.  Philip utilised the cafe environment of the Spurriergate Centre to create an element of surprise and audience participation.  The cast entered with the audience, taking up seats at the cafe tables, and from there, commenced the play.

Philip created the instrumental and vocal music for the play, using the skills of the cast to create the sound.  Dave al-Bahrani Peacock stage managed the production with costumes designed by Felip Gesse, Terry Ram acted as Associate Director with production by Leonie Hertig and Simon Tompsett.

We would like to thank everyone who supported the play by attending, donating funds, notably York Common Good Trust and the Feoffees of St Michael, Spurriergate – our thanks for their generous donations.

It was a great pleasure to work with the Spurriergate Centre team on our first production and our thanks go to them for their co-operation and commitment. Grateful thanks and congratulations go to our community actors, stage crew, photographers, publicity team and front of house team who worked so hard and enthusiastically to make it all happen.

Future Productions

2020: Our plan was to stage the 2020 A Nativity for York at the Spurriergate Centre from Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 December 2020. This was, of course, dependent on national circumstances relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless the Trust appointed a Director to commence work on the script and the vision for the production.

See below for an update.

A Message from the Chair

It will probably come as no surprise to you to learn that the Trust has, with a heavy heart, decided to cancel the production of A Nativity for York 2020. We held on until now to see what the national and local situation was before making a decision.

Committee members held a Zoom meeting last week to carry out a risk assessment on the viability of the production. We felt we would’ve been able to handle the safety issues, but the risk of low audience numbers and the threat of a last minute cancellation, should there be further restrictions, with the subsequent loss of Trust funds, meant that, financially, we could not sustain it this year without jeopardising the production in 2021.

So where do we go from here? We are absolutely committed to a production in 2021 and know that we have the funds in hand to carry this out. We are still looking to see what we can do this December, possibly in the Spurriergate Centre, in a low risk, low cost way. So we have got our thinking caps on for a Mystery Play Celebration!

I’d like to record our sincere thanks to Maurice for undertaking the challenge of 2020 and developing the script, together with a wonderful vision for a the production.

Linda Terry, Chair YMPST

A Nativity For York 2019

From Maurice Crichton

Last year I was delighted to see our idea come together so beautifully in Philip Parr’s production. As a member of the Committee I was very involved in developing our strategy for the production. The real test would be in Year 2. Would there be the same appetite among participants and audience for a second production? Would two approaches to the same material only a year apart begin to resonate in the way we hoped, setting imaginations buzzing?

My plans for this year’s show were both a response to our first production and to the extraordinary times we are living through. We didn’t meet Herod last year. I was going to bring him into the mix at a time when the quality of leadership among our queens and presidents, chancellors and prime ministers, has never been so critical. I had the chance to re-imagine the angelic host in a year in which we have all depended on real-world angels dressed in PPE, when we have felt our plans for the future, our hopes, our dreams, to be as vulnerable as a newborn infant. What a show it would have been!

A Nativity For York 2019
A Nativity For York 2019
A Nativity For York 2019

Photos: Nick Ansell and John Saunders