Glad Tidings – The Nativity Experience- Dec. 2009
What: The Nativity Experience – “A Baby Changes Everything”
Written and Directed by Luc Anderson
Where: Glad Tidings Church, 2460 Mountain Rd.
When: December 11, 12, 13 at 7 PM
Wheaton’s Country Store
La Bonne Nouvelle Bookstore
Glad Tidings Church
$10.00 – Advance tickets
$12.00 – At the Door
$ 5.00 – Children 12 and under
All your senses are engaged at The Nativity Experience, from patting the head of a farm animal to elbowing through a crowded marketplace. Later, while eating cookies and drinking hot apple cider or cocoa, the audience is serenaded by a children’s choir, and walks through a historical town, watching people work behind picture windows. The experience is meant to be all encompassing, with the final stage being a musical drama celebrating the first Christmas.
Glad Tidings Church is presenting its annual Nativity Experience this year with a new drama production called ‘A Baby Changes Everything’ , written and directed by Luc Anderson, an alumnus of the McSweeney Dinner theatre.
Music and Arts Director Kristin Pollard says that the show begins the moment you get out of the car. There are stables full of farm animals outside of the Church being tended by people dressed as shepards.
“And kids really love that part”, says Pollard “Then you enter into a busy market place. It is a bustling town environment with people trying to sell you stuff, and beggars begging like it would have been back in the day, and there is a high priest, and tax collectors, and everything is sort of bombarding you”.
“The second stage is more quiet , serene, we serve hot cider and hot chocolate and give out cookies and the people have the treats as they are walking through the town. It is like a stroll down memory lane. It is set up like a Victorian village. It is a bit like a wax museum, we created a main street, and it has many shops, a toy shop, a quill shop, and as you look through those windows you can see a baker making bread or a carpenter working on toys”.
“The last shop on Main Street is an old theatre and when you walk through those doors you come into the main sanctuary and that is where we do a full musical drama production with lighting and costumes”. The script is different each year but always expresses the “story of the first Christmas”.
Kristin says that nativity shows are popular in the United States “It is big, but it is a drive-thru thing. They do the town of Bethlehem experience, but the Great Hall is something that we have adopted ourselves and we thought it would be nice to add. We have really taken over the whole building here, very little of the buidling is not transformed”.
This year the African Children’s Choir is a new addition to the experience. “They are a big part of the production”, says Pollard, “and they are known around Moncton as a high quality choir. The children are refugees are from the Congo who started moving to Moncton about five years ago, many of them have made Glad Tidings their Church, and we reap the benefits”, says Kristin.
Angela Dawson has been involved since the very beginining nine years ago. Her involvement ranges from ticket sales to central actor, “Today I am coordinating all the ticket sales and decorating and doing anything that needs to be done. I am involved in a little bit of everything, but as far as the production goes I am acting the role Hannah”.
“Hannah is a young girl who is very sad. She was orphaned at a young age and taken in by Miriam, the Innkeeper. Hannah works at the inn, but she is like a daughter to Miriam. Hannah really feels like God has abandoned her, and as the story progresses she comes to realize that the baby that is born in Bethlehem is God’s gift to her , that he is her Savior, that God has not abandoned her and that he has sent this baby to save her and everyone else”.
“Miriam has a younger daughter, Sara, who is excited about the prophecy her mother keeps telling her about and keeps saying ‘the baby is coming, the baby is coming’. But Hannah has this terrible sadness in her, not really sure what is going on. However, when the baby comes she realizes that she has looked into the face of her savior. And she realizes that God has come not just to save her but everyone, that he is the Savior for the world. It is a powerful story, I have to say”, says Angela.
Angela finds that being involved in the production keeps her ‘grounded and on track”. She says it is important to her to share the experience with others.
“Being involved in this production is a wonderful experience, because with so much is going on at Chrsitmas time, you can be pulled in so many directions. There is a lot of hustle and bustle but it is nice to be able to to get this message out. This is really the reason we celebrate Christmas. And so I just consider it a honour to be involved each year”.
Angela thinks the show offers something special and unique. “There is nothing like this anywhere around here, it is very hands-on interactive . You go through the animals and then you walk through the Town of Bethlehem, and everything is happening as you walk through, you’ve got the beggars on the side and people trying to sell things, it is a very busy market place, very authentic. It kind of takes you back in time. And the Victorian part is so beautiful”.