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

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Three children to run Victoria as ‘Mayors’ on Tuesday

Local kids will be honorary mayors for a day

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read