Bolton Priory’s wintry live nativity draws the crowds

There were shepherds in the snowy fields surrounding Bolton Abbey near Skipton as a young Mary, Joseph and a donkey travelled through the famous Abbey ruins, recreating the first Christmas at Bolton Priory’s popular ‘Live Nativity’ at the weekend.  

The young actors from a local primary school led a large audience through the church and out through Bolton Abbey ruins to a small specially built stable overlooking the River Wharfe. (Pictured left, the angels bring the frightened shepherds news of the birth of Jesus)



Bolton Priory church’s Live Nativity, performed twice in freezing temperatures, featured children from the Boyle and Petyt primary school at nearby Beamsley, together with adult actors and a cast of pedigree sheep, alpacas, and the donkey.

Former Emmerdale actor, Glenda Cumberland (who played Rachel Hughes in the programme for  11 years), was the narrator for the Live Nativity. Glenda now teaches at Ben Rhydding Primary School, and the young cast also included children from the school. 

(Pictured left the angels, shepherds, Mary and Joseph - right, Mary and Joseph travel from the church to Bethlehem)


Wise Men leading ‘camels’, played by the alpacas, visited the imposing court of King Herod, set in the Abbey ruins, before bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the stable. And the audiences at the two performances sang with gusto the carols which divided each scene.

Pictured top right is curate at Bolton priory, the Revd Jonathan Cain, who directed the play, with his son Charlie who played the centurion






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