Fifty years on, the schoolchildren of Goostrey remember the nativity play written for them
Christmas 1965: The children of Goostrey Primary School in Cheshire are preparing to perform a special nativity play in the stable of the Crown Inn. Holly from the Bongs has been written especially for them by the famous children's writer Alan Garner (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath, The Owl Service) who lives locally and worked with them to help create the play.
Christmas 2015: The grown-ups who originally performed in the play return to the Crown Inn, 50 years on, to reflect on this unique theatrical experience with Alan Garner - who still regards Holly from the Bongs as his most technically perfect piece of writing.
Leslie Pimlott who played the Doctor in the original production, recalls with other cast members the story of how this customised nativity play was created by Alan Garner. The author spent many afternoons walking the children round the village's boundaries, fields and The Bongs, the wooded area behind the school to explore the history and living heritage of Goostrey. Leslie celebrates the excitement of taking part in the original production and its memorable first performance half a century ago. Part nativity play/part mummer's play Holly from the Bongs is a customised piece of theatre written for the voices of the individual children of Goostrey School in 1965. A stylistic lesson in English writing from the middle ages to the 1960's that has a very special place in the hearts of the original cast and the village of Goostrey.
Producer: Andy Cartwright
Made for BBC Radio 4 Extra by Soundscape Productions.