What Child is This?

adapted by David Bartlett

directed by David Bartlett

A nativity sequence for Christmas, from the mystery cycles of York, Wakefield, Chester and Coventry.

A Christmas tour of Churches


December? 1972

This was a tour of four or five venues, including Totton Anglican Church and Romsey Abbey - can anyone remember the the others?

The rehearsals took place at Glen Eyre and were filmed by Southern TV/TVS for a local programme.

Note on Religious Drama as Entertainment

One surprising point about the Great Epic mystery cycles of Medieval Times is the amount of invented action they contain. The element of humour is applied to the most solemn incidents. That the executioners who nail Christ to the cross could be represented by clowns is a startling thought. Yet the anonymous early dramatists, primitive though much of their work is, at least had one idea that is dramatically effective. A harrowing or touching scene is heightened enormously if what has gone before is trivial or even comic, Thus in the Nativity episodes the rather foolish figure out by Joseph or the shepherds’ horseplay, is intentional. It brings us to a sudden awareness of the meaning of the events in the Stable at Bethlehem. Immediately the question springs to minds ‘What Child is This?’ and once in our minds that question insists on an answer whatever our personal philosophy.

This present adaption from the Four Existing Manuscripts extends the amount of invented action to give cohension to the fragments selected. The Production is based on many of the elements that might have been used in a Sixteenth Century Performance.

The Players
Philip De Grouchy Myfanwy Bartlett
Ray Green Sheila Cuitnis
David Jupp Sheila Clark
David Pike Betty Green
Ray Rumsby Jenny Johnston
David Shevels Ann Pennington-Legh
Robert Wilson Judy Rake
Judith Shevels


The Clerics
Ken Hann Becket Pennington-Legh


For the Maskers:
Adapted and directed by David Bartlett
Designed by Jo Bartlett
Tour Organiser Ken Spencer
Stage Manager Keith Hooper
Wardrobe & Artwork Jo Bartlett,Ray Green
Assisted by Nicola Bartlett
Sound Technicians Ron Tillyer, Geoff Grandy
Lighting Ivan White
Properties Serena Brown, Angela Stephens



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Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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