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

Just Posted

Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend an alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after fatal crash in Langford

Sooke Council to review Lot A and cannabis regulations

Reports will set the stage for future Council action

New childcare in Langford looking for toddlers and teachers

Willowbrae Academy puts an emphasis on healthy living habits

Mike Hicks steps down as SEAPARC chairman

Sooke Coun. Al Beddows takes on position

GALLERY: Shots of the lunar eclipse from Victoria and beyond

Amateur and professional photographers capture the stunning celestial event

WATCH: Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Most Read