About the Musical

AlterNativity is a modern pop musical, written by professional actor and song-writer Jill Priest, specifically for performance by large casts within schools, glee clubs, youth theatres and churches. It is suitable for performers age 8 to adult, and for a cast of between 20 and 90. The running time of the show is 1 hour 10 minutes: 30 minutes for Act 1, 40 minutes for Act 2. The music accounts for 45 minutes.

AlterNativity tells the Christmas story using a rhyming script interspersed with 13 ‘pop’ songs sung to backing tracks. The show offers a refreshing antidote to the traditional primary-school nativity, by telling a familiar tale in an ‘alternative’ way via chart-style music that is cool enough for young adults to want to perform and for the public to enjoy watching! This musical is a departure from the standard, mass-produced bland school musical – there’s no hand-jiving here…it’s hip hop instead!60

The songs in AlterNativity are written in different music genres. For example, the angels are rappers; the sheep have a Beyoncé-style R&B track; the stable animals perform a line dance; there’s a boy-band of shepherds, Bollywood wise men, and the star is a larger than life rock star!

Although offering a bang-up-to-date feel, the plot is that of the traditional nativity, albeit with a few added characters and a little flexibility of timescale! Many of the words in the dialogue and lyrics are drawn directly from the Gospels, but presented in an accessible and amusing way. While thoroughly entertaining the audience, the show reminds them of what lay behind the first Christmas.

The show was written to ensure that everyone on stage ‘had their moment’, and as such there is no ‘back row of the chorus’. It is also an unusual nativity in that there are some big songs for characters other than Mary and Joseph, giving opportunities for a number of talented performers to shine.