Choosing and adapting a Christmas play script based on the participant’s ages and abilities will keep everyone engaged and entertained. Avoiding the following commonly made mistakes will insure a smooth production.
Tailoring a Christmas pageant script to your congregation’s children is important to the overall success of the production. The number of participants, age ranges, skill levels, and time constraints are all factors that need to be considered. Avoiding these five commonly made mistakes will help to make for a stress-free and enjoyable show!
Taking on a complex script if you are a novice Christmas play director
If this is your first time directing a Christmas play, choose your script wisely! At first you may think, “How hard can it really be?” But after many kids fail to show up to rehearsals, half your angels are bored and crying, and Joseph has forgotten all of his lines, you may be ready to break your clipboard in half.
Use a script that is very simple and only requires one rehearsal. Children generally know their Christmas songs, so use a script that utilizes more songs and less memorized lines.
Having high expectations of very young children
Young kids (under five) have a hard time sitting still and concentrating for even a short amount of time. These guys often have difficulty getting through the whole pageant, let alone lengthy rehearsals.
Avoid assigning lines and stick to easy songs and non-speaking parts for this group. Keep props minimal to avoid the unintentional upstaging of main characters-a shepherd’s staff quickly becomes a baton or sword! Have volunteers on hand during rehearsals and before/after the show with games and toys to keep the youngest ones occupied during down times.
Choosing a long pageant script when you have a lot of children participating
If you have a large number of kids, choosing a shorter Christmas play script is imperative. The shorter and less complex the script, the fewer rehearsals are required. Scheduling multiple rehearsals around everyone’s availability will become difficult, especially around the busy holidays.
A longer script also requires more stage production and practice, which results in lots of kids sitting around with lots of down time during rehearsals. This could be a recipe for disaster!
If you have a smaller number of kids, a longer program will be much more feasible. It will be easier for you to have one-on-one time during the rehearsals with performers and plenty to do to keep everyone occupied.
Using a pageant script with too many lines
The more lines, the more likely mistakes will be made. While mistakes often create the most endearing memories, too many may derail the whole production. Memorizing lines can be difficult for most, so relying on narrators and cue cards will cut down on flubs and stage fright. A volunteer standing off stage, but close to the action, can whisper the next line to help prompt a child who may be struggling.
Failing to feature talented soloists
Find a way to highlight children with exceptional talent. Whether you have a child that is a talented singer, plays an instrument, or can dance, work that particular talent into your script.
Do not, however, feature the same soloists every year. This will only lead to hurt feelings and resentment.
Get creative to work in unusual talents. Your audience will love the surprise and change of pace.
When choosing or altering a script, be mindful of the kids and their abilities. A great Christmas play script will keep both the cast and audience engaged, entertained, and focused on the greater goal of glorifying God.