Do you remember the Manchester Passion?
Telling the Easter story on the streets of Manchester City Centre with popular and famous locally produced music and popular and famous local actors?
Well tonight it was the Liverpool Nativity
Telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The story was acted out on the streets of Liverpool.
A modern take on the oldest story in the world.
Mary was working in a cafe on the Wirral, her boyfriend Joseph was a refugee.
The Angel Gabriel (the city CCTV operator) told Mary that she was to have a baby, and although Joseph took a bit of persuading, he did in the end support Mary who he loved very much.
Herodia, an important Government Minister trying to come to the attention of the President for her hard-line stance, heard from the Magi that a baby would be born to the girlfriend of an Asylum Seeker, who would be the King of Kings. So she decided to round up all Asylum Seekers by asking them to come to the passport office in Liverpool and review their visas. She was advising her staff from inside St George's Hall.
Mary and Joseph travelled to Liverpool on the Mersey Ferry and wondered the streets looking for somewhere to stay, subject to terrible prejudice from some people who had been inflamed by Herodia's castigation of Asylum Seekers. Eventually they made their way to a pub on St Johns Lane - Doctor Duncans. The innkeeper let them stay in his lean-to and the baby Jesus was born amongst the beer barrels in the cold and placed in a shopping trolley.
(Interestingly Doctor Duncan was a relentless campaigner against poor living conditions in the Liverpool of the Victorian era, and the first Chief Medical Officer of Health to be appointed in the UK. If you had to be born in a pub, then one named after him must be your best bet.)
Liverpool's shepherds were homeless people sleeping outside St George's Hall, outcasts from society, just like the original shepherds were.
The Angels came to them via their radio and showed them where the baby lay.
The Shepherds and the Angels and the Kings made their way to the lean-to (which had magically been moved to the main stage by this point). They came and worshipped the infant and there was much joy.
My favourite songs came at this part - John Lennon's Beatiful Boy and the Beatles' Lady Madonna.
Then the crowds parted and Liverpool people took Mary, Joseph and the baby into their midst and closed the gap behind them so that they could not ever be found by Herodia.
- The city and its buildings looked wonderful. St George's Hall, the Library, the museum, the whole of William Brown Street looked marvellous. The skyline from the ferry looked great too.
- great Liverpool music, great acting, great singing
We enjoyed a wonderful spectacle (staggeringly cold but utterly wonderful).
It was live on BBC 3 and then repeated at 11pm (which I am just watching now to make sure I have not missed anything).
It will be on again on BBC1 just before Christmas, either the 23rd or 24th, so if you missed it, you get the chance to watch it and can join the rest of the world in admiring our great city playing centre stage with such an important story.