Popular nativity returns for its 57th year

Basingstoke Gazette: A dress rehearsal for York Nativity Play Buy this photo » A dress rehearsal for York Nativity Play

A LONG-RUNNING nativity play has returned to Aldermaston for the 57th year.

The ever-popular York Nativity Play has been performed annually in the village for nearly six decades – despite the fact it was intended to last for only three performances.

The play, which is a highlight of the village calendar, began a run of performances on Monday in the Church of St Mary the Virgin. There are further performances tonight and tomorrow at 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday at 7pm.

Director Pat Eastop MBE is the founder of the play, and has been directing it since the first performance in 1957.

Many of the cast members, who mainly come from Aldermaston and the surrounding villages, have also been performing in the production for decades, including Leslie Woodley, who this year will be playing the part of the third shepherd for the 50th year.

His father Charley also acted in the play and his brother Barry and nieces Karry and Melony are also acting in this year’s production.

Mrs Eastop said Mr Woodley had made an incredible contribution to the play, adding: “His commitment is an inspiration to us all.”

The role of Joseph is this year played by Nick Caiger-Smith, who previously played the role of First King, having taken over the part from his father.

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