The awe and wonder of Christmas at Wokingham’s Living Nativity


A Christmas staple is the stable and this year, as part of Wokingham’s Living Advent Calendar, there’s a very special Nativity going on. PHIL CREIGHTON explains

“I want to create an atmosphere of awe and wonder.”

The story of the first Christmas – the Nativity – is ingrained into our childhood memories of tea towels for headdresses and toy lambs as the school Christmas play rears its head.

The clichés and choruses of Little Donkey can override the heart of the story – and that’s something that Hayley Blakeman, creator of this year’s Living Nativity in Wokingham, is keen to change.

Hence the awe and the wonder.

The Living Nativity has been organised by Bottle Top Theatre Community and will be performed from 3pm on Sunday, December 21 in Market Place and Howard Palmer Gardens.

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“It will be a good performance and it will look good,” Hayley promises. “We’ve done our best to include the community. At Bottle Top theatre is our passion, which is why we do it.”

“What is really exciting is that we’re working with Wokingham Town Council – the play will be part of the Living Advent Calendar.”

The performance starts in Market Place and processes to Howard Palmer Gardens.

“Bring torches, dress up if you want to. The park will be lit and the light procession will be fun,” Hayley promises.

The cast brings together 30 people from 10 churches.

“This is really exciting – it’s the Church coming together,” says Hayley of the co-operation among Wokingham’s Christians to make the Living Nativity happen.

The talented thespian has been working on Christmas sketches and scripts for a decade and is “always trying to find new angles”.

“Hopefully it’ll create an atmosphere – a positive atmosphere,” Hayley says of this year’s. “An awe and wonder atmosphere.”

That’s something that seems like an imposssible task when part of the audience will be people “rushing about doing their Christmas shopping”.

But Hayley hopes they do pause and take in the spectacle:

“It’s really easy to forget what Christmas is about – it’s nice to be reminded,” she says.

The old carol speaks of tidings of comfort and joy – that’s as good a way as any to approach the Living Nativity.

“It’ll be great,” Hayley says.

For more visit

More living nativities

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On Saturday, December 13 from 4pm, Southcote villagers will gather in the Community Centre for its community play. It’s followed by Carols In The square at 6pm.

Norreys Church in Wokingham will hold Walk Through Bethlehem from 11am to 3pm on Sunday, December 14.

Hugely popular, the previous event attracted more than 200 people.

In Reading, a Living Nativity will start at Wesley Methodist Church from 2.15pm on Sunday, December 21, before walking the streets ending up at St Andrew’s URC.

In Caversham, a Living Nativity will walk the streets near St John’s Church and Caverham Methodist Church from 4pm on Christmas Eve.

You’re invited to come dressed up for these events and entry to all of them is free.

#xnxmas Snap and share your pictures this Christmas

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