Festive production is also community event

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A new Chichester theatre company makes its debut with a thought-provoking festive production.

The Pilgrim Players are promising to get you into the real Christmas spirit with The Gift & Sign by Jill Jenkins.

Director Doreen Field said: “Come and see how the play reveals the nativity story with joy but also a hint of sadness. One of the Magi mysteriously states that ‘darkness is only the other side of light.’”

Just as importantly, the piece fulfils Doreen’s vision of creating a genuine community event.

“The play includes music composed by local musicians, singers from St Paul’s Church and Christ Church and student dancers from Chichester University. Actors are from Pilgrim Players, Chichester Players and Spot On Theatre Productions - a real community event to help you celebrate the Christmas season.

“I have been involved in amateur dramatics for some years. It was a dream of mine that we could have something happen between the churches. But I also wanted something that was more of a community event, not just the churches. I had a vision for a community drama group that encompassed churches and people outside churches.”

The result is a company around 25 strong, reviving a piece which Doreen directed back in the 1980s in Leatherhead.

“It’s a piece of dialogue which hasn’t dated at all. It’s very topical for a start as a subject matter. It concentrates on the effect of Christ’s birth on the other people around at the time, rather than on the birth itself. For example, the guests at the inn are affected by it in various ways - particularly also the innkeeper’s son. It impacts quite dramatically on him.”

The next commitments for members of the Pilgrim Players will be to join other actors for the annual Passion Play. After that, as far as Doreen is concerned, it’s a case of watch this space...

Performances are at Christ Church, Old Market Avenue, Southgate, Chichester, PO19 1SW on Tuesday, December 13 at 7.30pm and Wednesday, December 14 at 7.30pm at St Paul’s Church, Churchside, Chichester, P019 6FT.

Admission is free. A retiring collection will be taken for the local charity, Lifecentre which supports people who are sexually abused.