Free theatre show for children aims to demonstrate true meaning of Christmas

Last year's production of The Wonder at Soul Church, based in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SOUL C

Last year's production of The Wonder at Soul Church, based in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SOUL CHURCH - Credit: Soul Church

Amongst the endless television adverts and commercial offers, the true meaning of Christmas can easily get forgotten.

Last year's production of The Wonder at Soul Church, based in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SOUL C

Last year's production of The Wonder at Soul Church, based in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SOUL CHURCH - Credit: Soul Church

But this weekend a show for children and parents to enjoy aims to show people what yuletide is really all about – while giving families a free show they may not otherwise be able to enjoy.

For the past few years, Soul Church in Hellesdon, near Norwich, has been holding its Christmas production of The Wonder over a festive weekend.

The show, which Soul Church has patented, follows characters trying to discover the wonder of Christmas.

Canon Jon Norman, pastor at the Mason Road church, described the performance – now in its third year – as 'our gift to Norwich'.

Last year's production of The Wonder at Soul Church, based in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SOUL C

Last year's production of The Wonder at Soul Church, based in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SOUL CHURCH - Credit: Soul Church


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He added: 'We don't charge for tickets but we put on what we believe is a really high standard performance.'

Last year the show – which features more than 200 performers, some dressed as Disney characters – welcomed just under 3,000 people over the course of the weekend.

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With the show's increasing popularity, organisers are expecting more than 5,000 people over this weekend, with four performances on both Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10.

'It's a way for the church to give the city a gift,' Canon Norman said.

Soul Church in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SIMON FINLAY.

Soul Church in Mason Road, Hellesdon. Picture: SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

'It's a way the whole family come together and enjoy a community event.'

Canon Norman believes that while some commercialisation of Christmas is understandable, he argued: 'It has gone too far the other way.'

He described the show as a 'back to basics' approach to the meaning of Christmas, adding: 'As a church, we've a responsibility to place Jesus back at the centre of Christmas.

'The word is Christ-mas, yet Christmas is often abbreviated to xmas. Society is trying to remove Christ from it.

'This is one of those ways we can place Jesus in his rightful position. I think people are a lot more open to that than we tend to think they are.

'Also, people get to visit Soul Church and see an expression of what church can be.

'It is a more contemporary expression of church and, particularly to a younger generation, it might be more relevant.'

The shows run at 11am, 1.30pm, 4pm and 6.30pm on each day.

For more information, visit www.thewonder.org.uk

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