Advent Day 3: Theatre group will bring “joy of the Christmas story” online

A Hamilton-based theatre group is aiming to bring "the joy of the Christmas story" online through a modern retelling of the Nativity, which will be available to watch for free.

Baby Jesus
Jerusalem News is a modern retelling of the Nativity set in a newsroom.

Using a cast of professional actors, Drama Kirk's production of 'Jerusalem News' by Ray Markham has risen to the challenge of celebrating Christmas despite the ongoing pandemic.

Liz Blackman, Drama Kirk's Creative Director, explains that the annual local nativity is normally a highlight of the year.

"We wanted to ensure that the joy of the Christmas story could still be shared with young families," she said.

"We look forward to our community nativity so much and we usually perform in our High Street as part of a reindeer parade.

"It has always been a lovely day where hundreds of people (mainly young families) take to the streets and celebrate the start of the Christmas season.

"We also usually take our play to other community venues like care homes.

"Clearly, none of that would be safe this year so we had to look at other options."

A scene from Jerusalem News
A scene from Jerusalem News

Wanting to create something which could be shared amongst schools, community groups and churches, those involved realised that 'Jerusalem News' would work particularly well online as it is set in a TV newsroom.

They then hired a small group of professional actors and worked carefully to ensure social distancing measures were in place throughout filming.

For the first time Drama Kirk has also hired a director, Nicholas Elliott, who in addition to directing the production has played Jesus at the annual Passion Play staged by the group since 2018.

"As well as the opportunity to work with Nicky in a different way, I felt there was something poignant in having 'Jesus' lead how we celebrated his birth," Mrs Blackman adds.

Jerusalem News is a modern take on the Nativity
The film is free for people to watch

Speaking about the production, Mr Elliott said: "In directing this lovely, clever little script we developed ideas of comedy, elements of drama and emotion and we challenged ourselves to get a bit of everything in there.

"What we have arrived at is a different, funny and somewhat poignant take of the nativity told through the eyes of a newsroom in a heated press environment."

The play opens in a Jerusalem-based studio where the team are struggling with a good story to cover.

Could they look at Herod's latest building project? A new angle on the census? Suddenly, a new story presents itself, in the shape of a baby, born behind a pub in Bethlehem.

Could this baby be the promised Messiah? Will the team run the story? And will this turn out to be the greatest story ever told?

Watch Jerusalem News and find out more

Drama Kirk hopes this short film will provide schools, community groups and churches with a fun resource to augment their celebrations. The film is available on YouTube or DVDs can be sent if required.

For further details you can contact

Help Drama Kirk create future productions by sharing your feedback.

Sign up for this year's calendar

Bright Hope For Tomorrow is the theme of the Church of Scotland's 2020 Advent calendar.

We invite you to sign up for a daily email or check our online Advent calendar for some daily inspiration.

Throughout the season, we'll bring you stories that highlight how church members around the country are celebrating the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, hope and love with everyone in their communities.

Follow along with this year's Bright Hope For Tomorrow Advent calendar.