Cycling Nativity comes to Bristol

‘PUSH!’ shouted Joseph, as Wise Man Number Three burst out of Roll for the Soul café with napkins and a small bowl of water. Dabbing at Mary’s face frantically, the pair turned to the bemused onlookers and asked, ‘Is anyone a midwife?’

This was the scene in Bristol’s Quay Street earlier this afternoon (Monday 22 Dec), as the world’s first bicycling nativity rolled into the city.

With the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah blaring from speakers dangling from his bike, the Angel Gabriel looked over proceedings. Passers-by wove through the middle of the unfolding drama, and others stopped to watch.

Jacky Crosher paused to introduce her daughter, four-year-old Iris, to a Wise Man. The pair, from Bristol, also chatted to Mary and a Shepherd. ‘It’s been very good,’ said Jacky, ‘and is a great way of doing the nativity story. Iris doesn’t know the story very well, we have never really talked about it at home, but this has really brought it to life.’

Similar scenes have been happening all over Bristol, and will culminate in a Nativity Cycle performance at Creative Common, near Bristol’s Temple Meads Station, at 5pm.

Local acting group Desperate Men were commissioned by Bible Society to recreate the nativity. Co Artistic Director of the theatre group, Richard Headon, said, ‘People recognise these characters and pretty much know the story, so they understand the context. Street theatre allows us to take the story right among people. We’ve just sent Mary and Joseph into a travel agent, for example, to try to book a flight to Bethlehem.’

He added, ‘I probably haven’t read a Bible since I was about 14, but it’s been interesting to revisit the story and characters.’

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