Play Reading

The Flint Street Nativity
by Tim Frith

The eight-year-old pupils of Flint Street Primary School, all played by adults, perform the nativity play for their parents. The story is based on real events, collected over a period of ten years from members of Tim Firth's family and friends who were teachers.

For time-starved teachers at the end of term, the casting of a nativity is an object lesson in social engineering and appeasement. In the darkest vaults of each infant school is an unspoken template which can be slapped on any class register: MARY - give it to the girl whose parents are the most trouble. JOSEPH - the docile boy who is happy being led round like a Victorian orphan but would protest at being the donkey. DONKEY - give it to the kid who doesn't mind being a donkey. (There is always one of these and chances are they will achieve the greatest happiness in later life). GABRIEL - give it to the girl who could've been Mary but whose parents were less trouble. SHEPHERDS - any child who won't go on without their best friend. WISE MEN - any child who won't go on without their best friend but can also be trusted to carry out a simple motor function when glared at. STAR OF BETHLEHEM - save this for the child is odds-on to back out at the last minute. No-one misses the star. NARRATORS - these are your Corinthian pillars.

The lesson learned first-hand by the children prepares them for one of the toughest issues they will ever have to face in adulthood, which is this: the part you end up with in life may not be the part you feel you deserve. The dock leaf to the sting, however, is that very often what you thought to be the best part turns out not to be so.  

This last play reading for 2016 is a delightful piece which will resonate with all of us who have been teachers, parents and/or primary school pupils (and that’s, well, everyone). 

Please let Alison know if you are planning to attend so that we can make sure that we have plenty of tea, coffee, biscuits and seats.  Alison can be contacted on 07946 410767 or by email at

If you haven’t been to one of our play readings before, why not give it a try.  Scripts and refreshments are provided, and the evening is very relaxed and friendly, with lots of laughs.   Everyone will have the opportunity to read although it is unlikely that anyone will retain the same part throughout the evening.