The annual outdoor nativity pageant at Topaz Park features a live cast of humans and animals, recreating the story of Christmas. It runs Thursday through Saturday with four half-hour performances each night. Photo contributed

The annual outdoor nativity pageant at Topaz Park features a live cast of humans and animals, recreating the story of Christmas. It runs Thursday through Saturday with four half-hour performances each night. Photo contributed

Outdoor nativity pageant a labour of love for Victoria cast and crew

Thirty-first annual production brings Christmas story to life

For a 31st year, local adults and children from congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will gather at the south end of Topaz Park to replay the nativity scene.

The free, live outdoor pageant is a longstanding Christmas week tradition for many area families, says Graham Sanderson, one of the organizers. Involved with the production since the beginning with his wife, Lyanne, who has produced the pageant for more than 20 years, Sanderson says the roughly half-hour production stays largely the same from year to year.

“We’re not trying to make it new,” he says, noting that the story of Jesus’ birth hasn’t changed. “But we do try to jazz up the costumes and keep it bright.”

The shows, four a night starting Dec. 21 and continuing Dec. 22 and 23, have a soundtrack combining recorded narration of biblical scriptures by legendary Mustard Seed Street Church founder Rev. Gipp Forster, and well-known Christmas hymns and music.

The performances tend to draw a wide range of people of faith, but also those who are just curious about the retelling of the Christmas story. It’s especially striking with a live cast, complete with animals supplied by local farmers, and actors who may have been part of the cast for multiple generations.

Sanderson says over the 30 years of performances, there are people who have played baby Jesus – both male and female – who are now seeing their own infant and young children be part of the cast.

There are other unique aspects and personal benefits for some of the cast members who have been part of this long-term production.

“We tend to pick single people to play the roles of Mary and Joseph,” he says. “Through the years there have been a few of those couples who have ended up getting married.”

The average year tends to draw around 5,000 people for the dozen performances, with weather affecting the numbers to a degree. Regulars know the pageant runs rain or shine, however.

While audience members need not hold a devout faith to attend, Sanderson says the hope always is that it inspires people to feel and gives them something to contemplate.

“We hope they just get reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and get distracted for a time from the capitalism of the season.”

The first performance each night is 6:30 p.m. then following on the half hour. Parking is available at S.J. Willis Alternative School and in the Topaz Park lots. The site is also accessible for people in wheelchairs.

For more information, visit christmasnativity.ca.

editor@vicnews.com

nativity pageant

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wild Wise Sooke is pushing to get local waste management companies to hop on board to provide bear-resistant bins as an option for residents. On Nov. 23, Sooke council voted to write a letter of support for Wild Wise to send to companies such as GFL Environmental Inc. and Sooke Disposal Ltd. (Black Press Media file photo)
Wild Wise Sooke continues push for bear-resistant bins as option for residents

Bins could cost anywhere from $150 to $300 or more, according to 2019 study

The Sooke Christmas Bureau, which serves over 400 hampers to families and residents in need, has extended their deadline to include anyone in need that has missed their Dec. 1 cutoff. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke Christmas Bureau extends deadline for hampers

Non-profit group says monetary donations goes further than non-perishables

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

The District of Sooke is another step closer to approving its 2021 financial plan. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Pandemic uncertainty looms over Sooke municipal budget

Council trims property tax increase to 3.3 per cent

The Sooke Santa Run will feature their youngest members as Santas, an annual tradition for the firefighters in Sooke, East Sooke, Shirley and Otter Point. The drive-by event takes place throughout the Sooke neighbourhood on Dec. 12. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
No one outside fire hall allowed to help volunteer for Sooke Santa Run

Drive-by event takes place on Dec. 12, with goal to raise $15,000

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read