The Live Nativity is a colourful retelling of the Christmas story and is set to return on Saturday, December 16th with a stellar local cast and complete with real camels, sheep, and a donkey.
Popular Look North presenter Peter Levy will play Angel Gabriel, Rosie Millard, chair of Hull City of Culture 2017, Hull City Council culture supremo Jon Pywell and Inspector Kirsty Tock, of Humberside Police, will take on the role of the Magi and Bishop of Hull Alison White will put her crook to good use as a shepherd.
The event, which is being organised by Hull Minster in conjunction with the Hull church culture network Believe In Hull, hopes to amass a 300-strong choir made up of local people.
Hull creative performing artist Sarah Davies has been recruited to direct the event and add more cultural flourishes to it.
The action will start from ‘Nazareth’ - the monument in Queen Victoria Square - at 1.00pm where Mary will be called by the angel Gabriel to give birth to Jesus in Bethlehem – Trinity Square. The animals and nativity characters will journey to the church in a colourful procession involving real pub innkeepers, and other surprises. A large nativity scene will be erected in Trinity Square where there will be communal carols led by the Nativity Praise choir and the Humberside Police brass band. Families will get the chance to see the animals up close after the nativity performance ends and then help tell the story themselves with a short crib service inside Hull Minster.
Organiser Revd Matt Woodcock, pioneer minister at Hull Minster, said: ‘We want the Live Nativity to be fit for our City of Culture year. It’s a fantastic event which brings the city centre community together as one and gets everyone in the festive mood. We don’t do this to raise cash but to raise Christmas spirits! There has been tremendous goodwill and financial support from local businesses, Hull Bid, the City of Culture team, and local churches. Arco stepping up to be our main sponsor has shown once again how supportive they are of the local community.
“Whether you are a Christian or not, this story can remind everyone of the need for more hope and joy in the world. We’re still looking to cast the most important part - a baby to play Jesus!”
Rosie Millard, chair of Hull City of Culture 2017, said: "Not since I was a shepherd at the age of four have I been quite so excited about Christmas, and I am very honoured to be involved in the Live Nativity. Walking through the City of Culture towards Hull Minster with a camel at my side is a perfect way to announce the joy, drama and immediacy of Christmas to the city. I can't wait!"
Neil Jowsey, Chief Executive of Arco, said: “As a Hull born and bred company we seek to support our local community, whether that’s through charity events, sponsorship or projects, and are delighted to be a sponsor of this year’s Live Nativity to the benefit of Hull Minster, a valued and vital member of our community.”
Kathryn Shillito, City Centre Manager, Hull BID, said: “We are very proud to be one of the sponsors for such a unique event within the city, which will attract great numbers of spectators and onlookers to the city centre and the newly refurbished Trinity Square and Hull Minster."
Kia Macpherson, Believe in Hull’s choir director, is keen to speak to anyone interested in being part of the Nativity Praise choir. “Rehearsals will be informal, fun, friendly and local; we'll sing and laugh a lot and talk about why we love Christmas Carols!”
Please contact Kia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The animals will be able to be viewed in Queen Victoria Square from 12.00 noon and the nativity will begin at 1.00pm.
You can follow the progress of the Live Nativity on Twitter @HullMinster.