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

Saanich police look for driver involved in a hit-and-run

Incident happened Monday, Feb. 18 near Admirals Road by Murray Drive

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Search for modular housing in Saanich continues

Municipality says it remains committed to search for suitable piece of land to house homeless

Home show hits Pearkes this weekend

Victoria Early Spring Home Expo, Friday to Sunday

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Former B.C. fire chief sues his city after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

B.C. man injured in police shooting now in wheelchair

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Most Read