It may be only November, but in the school calendar, it’s that time of year to start thinking about Christmas plays. In this blog, we aim to explore different aspects that are key to running a successful Christmas play with your primary school. We will cover scripts, auditions, practice and costumes. Please see below for some of my top tips based on past experience.
Sourcing a good script:
I always start by finding the right play or script and focus on a few primary considerations:
- What has been done recently, in the past few years?
- What costumes can be easy to create/make in DIY or low-cost fashion?
- How many actors do we have?
There are multiple online platforms you can check out to browse through potential scripts including www.outoftheark.co.uk, http://www.lazybeescripts.co.uk, www.dramanotebook.com, www.seomraranga.com. These websites provide free and paid scripts.
We also have a few great resources for sale on staging2.lessonplans.ie. including ‘Oh what a Glorious Night’ Nativity play for as low as 2Euro and bundles of drama resources that include up to 15 scripts. If you have plays or scripts we would encourage you to upload them to our platform.
Assigning the correct roles: As with everything we do as teachers, plays and roles also demand an element of fairness when it comes to role allocation. I advise always aiming to audition for as many roles as you can to ensure selection is fair.
Inclusion: Not everyone can get the lead role in the play, but everyone should feel they play and important role in the story. Every child plays a part in the narrative and every role is critical to tell the story. I always ensure this is the key message for my class.
Costumes: You never want to create an extra expense for parents at Christmas, so always be mindful of cost and how you can leverage DIY costumes and get creative. I often experience you can find a lot materials at home and only may need to purchase one or two accessories to complete a great costume. There are some great tips here on how to make homemade nativity costumes. In addition, I also find Pinterest fantastic for costume ideas.
More importantly, don’t leave parents on their own here as you can help direct them. For example, for a Shepard costume, you just need a pillow case or a brown hessian sack, a long skirt, a tea towel, a stretchy hairband, a belt or piece of rope and a broom handle. Finally, in our school, we keep a collection of old costumes that people choose to donate every year, for example for the nativity play it is easy to collect these items at the school to make it easier for other classes and students the following year.
Lastly, don’t forget plays are fun! Plays are one of the most exciting opportunities children will get during the year to express themselves and build confidence. It is up to us to ensure they embrace and enjoy the experience, practice shouldn’t feel like work as much as excitement for getting ready for the big opening night!