Nov 18, 2010

Christmas Pageant season is coming... Need help with your Nativity Play?

One of the best things about the Christmas holiday season is seeing your kids perform in the school, church or community group Nativity pageant. Not only is it a great way for them to get involved, it's a good reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. Getting organized during this busy time of year doesn't have to be a chore! There are endless online resources for scripts, decorating, and best of all inexpensive costumes - no more rushing around finding the bits and pieces to make a shepherd or goat costume! Here's our list of tips for your Christmas pageant:

Before you can order the costumes, start on the sets and send out the invitations, you will need to narrow down your scenes and characters.
  • A great resource for children's scripts online, with plenty of Christmas and Biblical themed plays, is available at Children's Scripts. Complete with length of time and a rating of the topics from light to heavy: 
  • There is a good selection of Nativity Scripts here as well, ready to print in PDF form.
  • This link has a number of religious and non-religious ideas with song suggestions.

Luckily the Nativity story takes place in a desert, so set design is relatively easy as far as productions go. Depending on your script, you will likely need some basic backdrops and props that are easy to acquire or build. Here are a few tips and resources for set design:
  • Not sure where to start? Check out these tips on eHow or tips from these guys.
  • Don't underestimate the power of painting sheets of material and hanging them for backdrops!
  • Bales of hay are easy to come by and will add authenticity to your Nativity.
  • Lighting is key. This website has heaps of articles and tips to get you up to speed quick.

There are a ton of great costumes online, Costume Box ships next day, and has a solid range of everything you need to make a nativity scene or traditional Santa and elves themed event. Most plays will include the following characters to dress:
  • Shepherds
  • Wise Men
  • Mary
  • Joseph
  • Inn Keeper
  • Angels
  • Barn Animals
  • King Herod
  • Roman Soldiers

Shepherd Costumes
Joseph the Shepherd Mary Tabard Peasant Shepherd

Animal Costumes
Cow Childs Costume Donkey Costume Goat Costume Horse Child Costume

Angel Wings Halo Angel Wings Large Heaven Sent Child Costume Halo

Angel Adult Costume Arab Shiek Adult Costume Black Sheep Adult Costume Chic Shiek

Arabian Hat Shepherd Staff Roman Helmet Shield and Sword

You will need lyrics for practicing with your cast. Make sure to start early to give the kids enough time to memorize the songs. Shorter practice sessions frequently will be more effective than trying to cram last minute. Depending on whether you have live instruments or just an audio set-up, you will need to acquire sheet music or recordings without voices. Here are a few resources:
  • Printable lyrics: google the song name and include the word 'printable'. You can always copy the text from online and past it into a word doc.
  • Sheet music: Traditional Carols: click here.
  • Christmas recordings: iTunes has a great selection Christmas songs. Search for 'instrumental' versions if you need music that you can here your wee ones singing over.
  • Prepare a Running Sheet for assigning who, what, when, and where to tasks. This is a great Run Sheet Template.
  • Be sure to get in a few rehearsals with everyone involved: cast, stage hands, lighting, audio/visual crew. Have at least one practice run that includes costumes too.
  • A great idea if you have the space to do it, is to put the lyrics together in a power point presentation and project it onto a wall so that the audience can sing along. You can print off song sheets as well if you are doing a program to hand out to attendees. This makes for a nice keepsake for families and friends as you can include a list of characters and actors.
  • Promote the event to family, friends and the community. Send out invitations on paper, get it listed in the community events page of your local paper, and create some buzz on social networks by posting a page on Facebook. If you have the space, think of people that might miss out on the spirit of the holidays like aged care homes in your neighbourhood.  
  • Make sure to get key people together afterwards and make a list of what did and didn't work well for next year. This can be a great help to organizers that may not have been involved and is best done right away while it is all fresh in your heads.

Shop for Christmas Costumes Online at Costume Box Now: