When it comes to Christmas productions, the ideas and options are almost endless. There are several companies that have produced very interesting plays to suit all primary age ranges, genres and abilities. The company’s that I have used and have knowledge of are: Out of the Ark, Edgy Productions, Music Line, Redhead Music, Frantic Productions, Spiderweb Musicals and Starshine Music.
It’s worth spending time exploring the sites and listening to the sample tracks and scripts that they offer to ensure that you choose the play that best fits your school requirement. They are all written to try to fit each learning environment; many can be simple and for a smaller setting while others are complex with challenging music and designed for a large cast.
Many of the productions that are on offer look at the Christmas story from different angles, for example Christmas with the Aliens tells the story to a group of aliens who become stranded on earth at Christmas and wonder what’s going on. Whoops-a-Daisy Angel tells the Christmas story though the eyes of an angel who is always late. There are alternatives like 9, which is a set of nine carols and readings for Upper KS2, these are challenging and far more traditional in style. If you work at a non-faith school there may be an emphasis on winter productions rather than a direct focus on the Christmas story and several of these sites offer performances to meet those needs as well.
One of the advantages of buying a play is that most of the hard work is done for you. Audio tracks are provided with backing vocals and some with individual harmony tracks that can really help support all involved, particularly if the teacher struggles with singing. In recent years companies have started to offer a DVD style-learning platform. These allow you to play individual tracks with scrolling lyrics as well as giving the user the ability to hear individual lines and voices just by touching the screen or clicking the desired lyric.
When you purchase a production you are given several options of what to buy. The options can include the script, backing track, backing tracks with vocals, the musical score, the DVD resource and of course the license to perform and sometimes a license to record performances. It used to be the case that a license could be purchased for a certain number of performances but some companies now sell an annual license to a production.
Through my years of teaching I have gained experience of performing many plays from different companies, they have all been well written, fit for purpose and pitched accordingly for differing age groups. I have however, on occasion, found myself editing songs to best fit the abilities of the children I’ve been working with. This is to create a level of challenge that I think is right for the children and to enhance the staging and overall performance.