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A Successful Christmas Nativity - Your Questions Answered

Christmas Plays for Schools: A Comprehensive Guide

Christmas Hall Decoration
Creating a memorable school Christmas show or nativity play can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavour for teachers and drama instructors. The following are some of the typical questions and considerations that may arise during the process of organising and performing a school Christmas show or nativity:

Christmas School Play, Concert

Section 1 : Choosing the Right Play:

Q: Should the play stick to a traditional nativity story or have a modern twist?
A: This largely depends on the preferences of the school community and the message you wish to convey through the play. Traditional nativity plays are cherished for their timeless narrative, while modern twists can engage audiences in a fresh, contemporary way. Some schools opt for a combination, incorporating modern elements into the traditional nativity story ​1​.

Q: What length of play is appropriate for the age group performing?
A: The length should be tailored to the attention span and endurance of the performers as well as the audience. For younger children, shorter plays of around 20 to 30 minutes may be suitable, while older students may be able to handle longer performances. It's essential to consider the rehearsal and preparation time available when determining the play's length ​2​​3​.

Q: How much dialogue and narration should the play include?
A: The amount of dialogue and narration should align with the age and capabilities of the students. Younger children may benefit from simpler scripts with more narration, while older students may be able to handle more complex dialogues. Including a variety of roles, from speaking parts to non-speaking roles, ensures that every child can participate in a way that suits them ​4​​5​.

Q: How challenging should the songs be?
A: The complexity of the songs should match the musical abilities of the students. It's crucial to choose songs that challenge yet are achievable for the performers. Engage music teachers in the selection process and consider the range, rhythm, and lyrics of the songs when making your choices ​6​.

How Long should Your Nativity Last?

school nativity Filming

Section 2: School Play Rehearsals:

Q: When and where will rehearsals be held?
A: The rehearsal schedule should be planned well in advance, with considerations for the availability of the venue, students, and staff. It's advisable to hold rehearsals in the same location where the performance will take place to familiarise students with the space​7​.

Q: How can a rehearsal schedule be structured to accommodate both the teachers' and students' availability?
A: Flexibility is key in structuring a rehearsal schedule. Communicate with teachers, students, and parents to find times that work for everyone. Utilise resources like rehearsal schedule templates to organise practice sessions efficiently​8​​9​.

Q: Are there enough resources (time, space, and personnel) for lunch time, after school, weekend, and holiday rehearsals?
A: Assess the availability of resources early in the planning process. Ensure there's adequate time, space, and personnel to support the rehearsal schedule. Engage parent volunteers and school staff to help with supervision, costume preparation, and other tasks necessary for successful rehearsals​10​​11​.

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Section 3: Performance Expectations:

Q: What are the performance expectations for different age groups?

A: Performance expectations can vary based on the age group of the students. For younger students, simplicity is key - a shorter play around 20 to 30 minutes with easy-to-learn songs and limited dialogue is ideal​ 1 ​​2​.

For older students, a slightly longer play with more dialogue and perhaps more complex songs could be more engaging. It's essential to balance the complexity with the ability of the students to ensure an enjoyable and stress-free experience for all involved​ 3​​ 4​.

Q: How can the play be staged to ensure that every child is seen and heard?

A: To ensure every child is seen and heard, stage actions as far forward as possible, vary the levels on stage with carefully positioned blocks or treads, and position the main choir towards the back with all the action happening in front of them and the narrators at the front, to the side​

Q: How can narration be divided among the cast to fit the number of students participating?
A: Divide narration into small sections or individual lines to bring in parts for more children, making it easier for each child to remember their parts. If there are fewer children, a competent reader could read the narration to the audience​.
School performance acting

Section 4: Staging and Props

Q: How can the stage be set up to ensure visibility and engagement with the audience?

A: Keeping the action upfront, especially downstage centre, helps connect the performers with the audience. Utilising all possible entrances and exits, and practicing the logistics of moving on and off stage can help maintain a smooth flow during the performance ​5​.

Q: What simple set design ideas could be employed to create the right ambiance for the play?

A: Employ simple backdrops painted onto fabric or cut from foam sheeting or plywood to set the scene. For a nativity play, backgrounds with dunes, palm trees, and stable buildings can be created. Keeping the scenery simple and perhaps even involving the children in creating it can also add to the ambiance of the play ​6​​5​.

Here is a great article on staging
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Section 5: Audience and Engagement

Q: How can parents and other audience members be engaged before, during, and after the show?

A: Engage parents and audience members by making them look forward to seeing their child or grandchild perform. Encourage parents to participate in costume and set preparations, and perhaps even in some scenes if appropriate. Keeping the performance fun, lively, and somewhat interactive can also keep the audience engaged​ 7​​

Q: What strategies can be used to ensure that the audience enjoys the performance, given that many will already be familiar with the nativity story?
A: To keep the audience engaged, employ simple yet creative staging ideas, use animation and movement within the songs, and ensure that every child is seen and heard. Diversifying the narration and dialogue, and introducing a modern twist to the traditional story can also make the performance more enjoyable and less predictable for the audience​ 9​.

Section 6: Videography, Capturing Your Show Memories

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We hear at believe that capturing the memories oof all your and the children's hardworking is a must. We offer flexible options from us selling downloads to a set fee option for you to profit from the sales.

How to film your show professionally

Here are some common questions answered.

Would hiring a professional videographer to capture the show add value?
Yes, a professional videographer specialising in show filming brings high-quality recording in 4K or HD, ensuring a polished, professional finish to capture the event.

What benefits would a professional videographer provide as compared to a parent or staff member filming?
Multiple camera angles, excellent audio, experienced operators, and fast turnaround times (some parents take over 2 months to edit the show around their job times) are among the benefits, enhancing the viewing experience and providing a professional production.


What are the typical costs associated with hiring a professional videographer?
Prices start from £14 per copy with options for express turnaround and additional camera operators.

Are there package deals available that could include both filming and editing?
Yes, filming and editing are part of the service, with delivery of USBs, download links, and DVDs included.

Is it possible to find a videographer who offers a set fee for filming, allowing the school to distribute the film however they wish, or one who could set up a webpage to sell digital downloads and streaming directly, sharing the profits with the school?

Yes, flexible pricing structures are available to accommodate different needs, including profit-sharing options through digital downloads.


How obtrusive will the videography equipment be? Will it distract from the performance?
Professional setup ensures minimal distraction while capturing the event from multiple angles.

How long after the performance will the video be available? Are rush options available?
Videos are typically available within 72 hours, with express turnaround options for faster delivery.
Quality and Distribution:

What format will the video be provided in? HD, 4K, DVD, digital download?
Videos are available in up-to 4K on USB and download.

Can the videographer assist with distributing the video to parents and other audience members, possibly through a custom webpage or digital platform?
Yes, distribution options include us selling the show via download links, making selling and sharing with parents and audience members seamless.

Book In Your Show - Call 0208 668 0018

Book Us to Film Your School Show

How It Works

Let us know the date of your show dates for filming with by the form above (or or by calling 020 8668 0018

Answer a few questions about your show, restrictions and requirements Or music video style and budget requirements.

Agree on a plan for filming and agree on cost and timescales

We will film and edit your production (turnaround within 72 hours)

We will deliver you concert or music video in full resolution on USB, download links.

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The Easiest Way to Book in Your Show is To Call

Book In Your Show - Call 0208 668 0018