THE shepherds will be played by members of the boxing academy,
the Angel Gabriel by an opera star, and Herod by the deputy
churchwarden. Joseph last starred opposite Sir Patrick Stewart in
The Merchant of Venice, and the camels are travelling not
from the East, but up the M18 from the Peak District.
When the Assistant Curate of Holy Trinity, Hull, the Revd Matt
Woodcock, had the "crazy idea" of staging a live nativity, complete
with camels, in September (
News, 7 September), he had little idea of what he had spawned.
"I've created a monster, to be honest," he said on Tueday. "It's
got completely out of control . . . in a good way."
Now that Hull City Council is fully behind the production (and
is taking care of the health-and-safety requirements of bringing
three camels into the city centre), Mr Woodcock is expecting
thousands of people to watch Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth,
staged outside the City Hall, to Bethlehem, sited at Holy Trinity,
on 22 December.
"I will be interviewing them, as a reporter for the
Bethlehem News, and speaking to local people," he
explained. "It will be like a walk of witness at Easter."
The couple will be played by Daniel Morgan, a former Royal
Shakespeare Company actor who has recently started attending Holy
Trinity, and Rosie Willis, a student. After being turned away by
the landlords of pubs along the route, they will be offered shelter
at a stable constructed by a local firm at the Kingston pub,
opposite the church.
A second couple will play the parts after the birth of Jesus.
Gareth Yardley and Lyndsey Holmes are the parents of the
production's youngest star, Sidney Yardley, who is just a few
weeks' old, and will play Jesus. He will be baptised by Mr Woodcock
Mr Woodcock - who has become known as "the camel man of Hull" -
is a believer in "doing things differently". "As soon as you take
the story outside church, people are engaging with it like never
before," he said. "Hull has really been struggling jobs-wise, and
this has become something that people are really looking forward