Embarking on filming Hark! A Nativity Story was an audacious and ambitious adventure from the start. The ingredients were assembled – actors, a band, our wonderful directors, a beautiful set, and the most important story of all to tell – but we had no idea what would come out of the oven! Gathering in our Covid bubble gifted us with the real sense of forming a creative community. Having such a large team working on a singular project is a rare occurrence; the result was a truly collaborative achievement..

Calling the shots

Instead of our usual crowds of people, our audience was formed of four cameras and their very talented operators. The decision to film began as a necessary choice made when the limitations of lockdown were closing in, but soon became an opportunity for creative freedom. Our videographer Dave describes the process:

“It was a privilege – having watched the musical Hamilton online I was pumped for the challenge! We got a team of freelance videographers on board along with me and Chez, and hired extra kit. Between us we already had a range of experience, it was just about honing existing skills. With limited time, calling the shots was a high pressure, high stakes experience, and that was before long hours of editing! A highlight was capturing the audience reactions. We sat all the cast down in the auditorium and recorded a whole range of rapturous responses to layer the sounds of a larger audience over the footage. After a couple of intense weeks, there was a real moment of camaraderie and joy at what we had all achieved.”

Listen, Can You Hear It?

Led by musical director Reisz Amos, with an incredibly talented band of musicians and composers playing a range of instruments, we were able for the first time to create an original score for a Christmas show. Using the underscore soundtrack he had created for previous tours as a base, Jacob describes the process of storytelling through music:

“Our idea was to make the opening song a macro creation story that sets up the start of the show as well as the context. The band jammed around the idea and came up with a structure that followed the energy and excitement of creation and the subsequent solemnity of the fall of man, musically and lyrically. From there we built anticipation; a repeated ascending phrase over the words ‘Listen, Can You Hear It?’. The song ended on a chord which intentionally didn’t resolve, inviting to the audience to ‘hark’ to the unfolding story.”

With 63 church and community bookings, Hark!reached around as many people as all three of our Christmas tours usually do. We were delighted to hear of how many churches, families, and individuals engaged with Hark! – our audience stretched as far as Australia and Thailand!

“Your clever plot, humour, wonderful acting and clear gospel message made the performance sparkle – it was the highlight of my Christmas.”
- Christ Church, Coventry

Written by Emily Feltham, Actor/Writer