Wanted: room for a life-size nativity set
The future of a life performance of the Christmas story in Cardiff city centre is in doubt because volunteers are struggling to find storage space for their life-size set and props.
Watching the “Christmas - The Story” has become something of a tradition for shoppers over the past ten years in the three weeks running up to Christmas. Performed daily on a loop by volunteers and featuring life donkeys, the 20-minute free and bilingual show took the nativity story to thousands of people. It also proved a highly successful as a free school trip. It began in 2010 outside Tabernacl Chapel in the Hayes, with the idea subsequently being taken up by churches in Aberdare, Carmarthen, Port Talbot, Barry and Bridgend.
The impact of the Covid pandemic, however, resulted in the Cardiff show being put on hold, replaced by a puppet nativity (along with the donkeys) for schools for the past two Christmases.
Now the volunteers are facing another challenge. The farm barn in Mid Wales where the show’s high quality scenery and props were stored out of season is being sold and new storage is urgently needed. Without it the equipment will have to be scrapped or given, free of charge, to volunteers in another town for them to continue with the show.
Organiser, Sally Humble-Jackson, says, “‘Christmas - The Story’ brings to life the 2,000 year-old nativity story, using adult actors, professional costumes and staging, plus some unique and exquisite puppets. It has been a creative piece of life theatre right in the heart of our capital city.
“Based in a city we have grappled with storage issues from the outset. We are trying to resolve them, but unless we pay for storage – around £1,500-£2,000 per year – money which we don’t have and which would be near impossible to raise in the current situation – we will have to take all our quality stuff to the tip as scrap.
“There are two alternatives. Firstly, someone, somewhere, will be able to offer us free (or very low-cost) storage – if only for a few months to buy us time (more than a garage-full, a little less than a container-load.) Or Christians elsewhere will take it all – as a free gift – and will replicate the project in their own town-centre church building, gathering volunteers from across the denominations to step into our fabulous costumes. We would provide soundtracks, posters, advice and guidance on every aspect.”