Nativity play (older children)
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This Nativity play has been designed for church-based children’s groups to perform within their own communities. In situations where we are often unsure who may be there on the day, this play is led by one adult narrator who keeps the story moving along, while also involving other children in the action. There are several key speaking roles, all of which have only a few simple lines to remember, and there is flexibility about the number of other children who can be involved in non-speaking roles. A simple costume might help to explain the role of Narrator Angel.
The action takes place in several locations, so define these at separate places in your venue where possible to allow for movement between them. It may even work if the children simply move up and down an aisle to return to the front, ensuring that the congregation or audience can still see all the action.
- Narrator Angel
- Gabriel and two other angels
- Mary and Joseph
- Bethlehem inhabitants
- Wise men
Two to four angels are dozing on stage.
Narrator Angel: Wake up, wake up! It’s time! The boss has spoken! Gabriel, you’re up!
Off to Nazareth you go. You need to find Mary and tell her what’s coming. Give her some time to get used to the idea!
Gabriel gets up and travels (or zooms!) around the venue until he reaches Mary, who is sitting at home.
Gabriel: Do not be afraid! God is pleased with you. He has chosen you to have his son, who will be King of the whole world!
Gabriel zooms back to base. Mary looks worried, then sits with Joseph.
Narrator Angel: Uh oh, looks like we have a problem. Joseph doesn’t seem too sure!
Angel 2, you’re up! Wait until Joseph’s asleep, then see if you can ease his worries.
Mary exits the scene, Joseph lies down as though asleep and Angel 2 zooms to earth to stand beside him for a moment before zooming back.
Narrator Angel: Mission accomplished. Well done, Angel 2! I think we’re going to have a busy few months ahead of us.
Angel 3 hands a scroll or piece of paper to Narrator Angel.
Narrator Angel: News just in…this is going to make it tricky! Joseph and Mary have to go to Bethlehem to be counted. We could really do without this complication. Could the Boss not have avoided this? Right, OK. Eyes open, everyone. Keep a close eye on what’s going on.
Mary and Joseph trek slowly around the venue until they reach ‘Bethlehem’, where the crowds are milling around. Joseph knocks on a few doors.
Joseph: Can we stay here tonight? Bethlehem inhabitant 1: Sorry, no room. Joseph: Can we stay here tonight?
Bethlehem inhabitant 2: Sorry, no room.
Joseph: Can we stay here tonight? Bethlehem inhabitant 3: Sorry, no room. But you can stay with my animals if you like?
Narrator Angel: I’d have thought the Boss would at least have made a reservation.
It’s going to be pretty smelly for them with the animals tonight! Oh my, and busy too! It looks like tonight’s the night!
Mary and Joseph sit together, centre stage, Mary holds the ‘baby’. Angel 3 hands a scroll or piece of paper to Narrator Angel.
Narrator Angel: Right, team, this is it! It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Are we all shining our shiniest and praising our praisiest? Everyone ready? Right, over there to the left are the shepherds. Gabriel, you take the lead. Everyone else move on Gabriel’s cue!
The shepherds are seated together on the ground. Gabriel appears before them.
Gabriel: Don’t be afraid! I bring good news for all the people. Tonight, in Bethlehem, a baby has been born. He is the saviour of the world, Christ the Lord. You will find the baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.
Other angels appear around him.
Angels: Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to all people!
The angels exit and the shepherds journey towards the manger scene, sitting at the feet of Mary and Joseph.
Narrator Angel: Great job, everyone. Awesome singing. This night will definitely go down in history!
The shepherds exit. The wise men start travelling around the venue towards ’Bethlehem’.
Narrator Angel: Oh, hang on. It looks as though we have more visitors on their way. And it looks as though they’ve been travelling for a while.
The wise men arrive and put their gifts down in front of the baby as they say their lines.
Wise man 1: I bring gold.
Wise man 2: I bring frankincense.
Wise man 3: I bring myrrh.
Narrator Angel: Angel 2, you’re up again!
It seems these visitors received some bad advice on the way here and may be heading back to speak to Herod. Wait until they’re asleep and then let them know that it wouldn’t be a good idea.
Mary and Joseph exit. The wise men lie down as though asleep. Angel 2 zooms to earth to stand beside them for a moment before zooming back. The wise men then wake up and journey back around the venue in the opposite direction.
Narrator Angel: Gabriel, it’s your turn now. You need to warn Mary and Joseph to get out of there! There’s trouble brewing, and we need to keep that baby safe. Tell Joseph to get his new family to Egypt. They’ll be safe there.
Mary and Joseph lie on the floor as though asleep. Gabriel zooms around the venue to stand beside them for a moment before zooming back, Mary and Joseph exit, taking the baby with them. The angels sit on the floor, centre stage, as they were in the opening scene.
Narrator Angel: All right, you can sleep for now. It’s been a busy time. You’ll remember this for ever, and so will they.