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A Norwich church nativity play with a difference 

The Oaks Friendship Group held a nativity play with a difference on Friday December 13 at the ecumenical Bowthorpe Church, reports Kevin Gotts.

The difference was the average age of those taking part - which was not five years but well over 50 with some aged in their 80s and 90s - all adults who regularly attend the Group including those with health issues, some with dementia, and their carers.
Group leader Lois Wiltshire was the narrator, reading from a 30-minute visual presentation interspersed with carols for all to join in, crafted by Mike Acaster.  All the cast wore costumes designed and made by the team and helpers.
Jane runs the church’s puppet team and was the puppet master of Joseph which she made. She said: “While we did not rehearse, everything went together very well.  We all know each other and the story and are comfortable and were able to ad lib.  As adults, none of us are too old and this story affects us all.  We all need Jesus as part of our lives, and this helps and reminds us.”
Vikki, one of the younger team members, played the role of Mary. While not having seen a nativity performance, she thoroughly enjoyed the experience: “It was really good, there were laughs and it was very spontaneous,” she said.
Before the performance, a lunch was enjoyed and afterwards refreshments were served to all, including guests, by the catering team.
Susan, a guest and occasional visitor, reflected on the performance: “I just think it is wonderful to see joy on the faces of all these people getting as much fun as children do.  It makes you feel happy as this is what Christmas is all about.”
Mark Elvin, the Church’s minister, also had a role as a shepherd.  He explained that The Oaks meets 52 weeks a year and those that attend look forward to the Nativity throughout the year: “It is extremely important that people of different backgrounds and abilities take part.
“Maybe they have never been an angel or a shepherd but may remember the nativity at school.  So here they can dress up and create memories to talk about in weeks to come.  He cares for the ordinary as well as the extraordinary and the Nativity message is that he loves us.”
View a gallery of pictures of the nativity play, taken by Kevin Gotts, by clicking here or see below
Oaks Nativity Bowthorpe Nov19

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