Interactive Christmas story comes to East Ham

The Christmas story, complete with shepherds and sheep, the three wise men and Mary and Joseph, will be brought to life across the streets of East Ham today (Saturday).

It will take the form of a multi-site interactive Nativity Play around the streets of East Ham, for and by the local people.

In Central Park a group of shepherds will be spending the afternoon, keeping warm around a bonfire and looking after their sheep (real sheep!). Suddenly the silence will be interrupted by the sound of singing…

In Melbourne Road, East Ham, there will be a caravan of Wise Men (and Women) who have travelled from afar to find a great King. They will have a flock of goats with them.

In Masterman Road, at the rear of a small house at120 High Street South, East Ha, already full of people and animals, Maryam and Yosef will find shelter. They have travelled for the Census and while they’re there Maryam will give birth to a baby boy.

The audience will be welcomed to any of the three venues, and will then invited to (with a map) explore the rest of the story, through the streets of East Ham.

The event is run by Make Believe Theatre Company which organised the first interactive performance last year.

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Emelie Clark, artistic director for the company, said: “The idea behind it is based on the fact that the Christmas Story is so familiar to mathat we forget to respond to it with excitement, empathy and awe. It has inspired great art for 2000 years, as well as deeply moved individuals. It can be read in the Bible and is fundamental to the Christian faith, but it also features in the Koran and has had numerous other holy or secular books written about it. For others it is a muddle of fairies, Santa and tea-towelled children. This performance invites the audience to play part in the story and will give a unique experience to everyone who comes along.”

The performance will take place on Saturday December 17 between 1 and 3pm, simultaneously being performed in the three different venues

This is the second year running that East Ham experiences a Chronicles event at Christmas. Last year, in Chronicles: The Shepherds’ Story, Central Park hosted the shepherds, their sheep, and then too an angelic choir came to give good news of great joy.