Brighton church hosts a Nativity like no other

The Argus: Actors Rebecca Garside and Lloyd Cummins as Mary and Joseph Actors Rebecca Garside and Lloyd Cummins as Mary and Joseph

We all think we know the Nativity story.

There’s a donkey ride, a few festive songs and kings handing out gifts to the baby Jesus.

But a Brighton and Hove drama group is promising audiences the real warts-and-all nativity story this Christmas – complete with murder, abortion and rape.

The Soul by the Sea company, which hit the headlines in 2010 with its production The Passion of Christ, will perform its “gritty” Nativity at St Mary’s Church in St James Street, Brighton.

Director James Burke-Dunsmore said: “The various nativity plays around the city are beautiful and moving in their own way but they aren’t true to the scripture.

"I’m not into shocking people at Christmas, I’m just telling the real story.”

Among the scenes set to shock include the aftermath of the announcement of Mary’s pregnancy.

‘Powerful’

Soul by the Sea committee member Alex Stewart-Clark, who got a sneak peek of rehearsals, described the scene as “suspense filled” and “powerful”.

In it, Joseph disowns Mary fearing she has been sleeping around or raped.

As a result a distraught Mary toys with the prospect of aborting the baby Jesus.

The other scene likely to shock audience members, Mr Stewart-Clark explains, is when Herod decides to murder all the babies.

As a soundtrack of wailing and screaming is played, the soldiers act out stomping on the crying babies.

The main birth scene also promises to reflect the true horrors of childbirth 2,000 years ago, with screams and wailing played out over the audio system.

Chilling

Mr Burke-Dunsmore said: “I’m really pleased with it. The quality of the acting is fantastic. When Herod appears on stage declaring that he wants all the babies killed, it chills the blood.”

Bill McIlroy, from the Brighton and Hove Humanist Society, described the production as “another gimmick to attract people to the church”.

He said: “It seems they jump at the chance to wheel out the blood and gore. It’s sadly just another gimmick because people aren’t going to church anymore.”

However, local church leaders have jumped to the defence of the production.

Father Ray Blake, from St Mary Magdalen’s Church in Brighton, described the gory production as “a very good idea”.

He added: “The story of the birth of Christ is not for children. It is an adult story with horrific scenes such as King Herod’s men killing babies.

"Anything that helps break away from Santa, tinsel and reindeer is a good thing.”

For tickets for the December 18 to 21 performances, visit: www.soulbythesea.info.

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Comments (10)

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3:24pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Brighton_Toffee says...

Father Ray Blake, from St Mary Magdalen’s Church in Brighton, described the gory production as “a very good idea”.

He added: “The story of the birth of Christ is not for children. It is an adult story with horrific scenes such as King Herod’s men killing babies.

"Anything that helps break away from Santa, tinsel and reindeer is a good thing.”

Way to go, Father Ray! As loopy as ever.

You remain the sole reason that I travel more than a mile to attend services when I could just take a 5 minute downhill stroll
Father Ray Blake, from St Mary Magdalen’s Church in Brighton, described the gory production as “a very good idea”. He added: “The story of the birth of Christ is not for children. It is an adult story with horrific scenes such as King Herod’s men killing babies. "Anything that helps break away from Santa, tinsel and reindeer is a good thing.” Way to go, Father Ray! As loopy as ever. You remain the sole reason that I travel more than a mile to attend services when I could just take a 5 minute downhill stroll Brighton_Toffee

3:28pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Brighton_Toffee says...

"Alex Stewart-Clark, who got a sneak peak of rehearsals"

So he found a mountain that had escaped everybody else's attention.

Bad writing, worse editing
"Alex Stewart-Clark, who got a sneak peak of rehearsals" So he found a mountain that had escaped everybody else's attention. Bad writing, worse editing Brighton_Toffee

3:31pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Brighton_Toffee says...

"However, local church leaders have jumped to the defence of the production."

You mention "local church leaders" in the plural yet quote only one. At least let readers know how many were consulted before making such a statement
"However, local church leaders have jumped to the defence of the production." You mention "local church leaders" in the plural yet quote only one. At least let readers know how many were consulted before making such a statement Brighton_Toffee

3:33pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Beethoven says...

From your article, it appears that the scenes are realistic of the events, described or implied in Scripture...If you want realism, of course.

At least that is better than the jazzed up creative productions that play with the account as if it were no more than a fictional story ripe for embellishment.
From your article, it appears that the scenes are realistic of the events, described or implied in Scripture...If you want realism, of course. At least that is better than the jazzed up creative productions that play with the account as if it were no more than a fictional story ripe for embellishment. Beethoven

3:58pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Crystal Ball says...

Another work of fiction.
Another work of fiction. Crystal Ball

7:16pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

I'm surprised the council has not banned this. Did the Party give approval for the people to see this?
I'm surprised the council has not banned this. Did the Party give approval for the people to see this? Maxwell's Ghost

7:28pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Sussex jim says...

The myth of the virgin giving birth was just a rumour to keep poor cuckolded Joseph quiet. He never earnt much as a chippie; Mary was on the game, and Jesus' father was probably a visiting Roman soldier.
The myth of the virgin giving birth was just a rumour to keep poor cuckolded Joseph quiet. He never earnt much as a chippie; Mary was on the game, and Jesus' father was probably a visiting Roman soldier. Sussex jim

6:57am Fri 14 Dec 12

Somethingsarejustwrong says...

She has had more **** than a pin cushion and then some!
She has had more **** than a pin cushion and then some! Somethingsarejustwrong

9:52am Fri 14 Dec 12

Morpheus says...

Where does the rape come in to it? Will we see Mary raped by the holy ghost?
Where does the rape come in to it? Will we see Mary raped by the holy ghost? Morpheus

10:10am Fri 14 Dec 12

redwing says...

".... the true horrors of childbirth 2,000 years ago" ?
We're managing a 25% Caesarian (major op) rate these days. In the USA its 33%.
".... the true horrors of childbirth 2,000 years ago" ? We're managing a 25% Caesarian (major op) rate these days. In the USA its 33%. redwing

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