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Royal pageant role for Maples-area resident

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Chris Bellamy has been donning a king’s crown around the holidays for about a decade now, but he hardly sees it as old hat.

Bellamy, who resides in The Maples, will once more be donning the many luxurious layers of one of the Three Kings of the Christian nativity story, as part of Holy Trinity Church’s A Classic Christmas Pageant.

The pageant has been presented at the Smith Street church for more than 60 years. Bellamy has been involved with the church for the past two decades and became involved with the pageant more than a decade ago. He said capturing the spiritual meaning of Christmas remains an important task for pageant organizers.

"I think it’s exciting for... people to be able to capture again the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ, and have a better (idea) of it," he said.

Bellamy started out as a shepherd, later being given the role of one of the three kings who present gifts to the baby Jesus.

Bellamy said the full cast gets together to begin working on the show in mid-October, although there’s behind-the-scenes work being done as early as September. After many weeks of preparation, he’s ready to once again get into costume and present the gift of Myrrh when the show opens Dec. 8.

The pageant utilizes elaborate costumes, with some vintage pieces dating back to the 1950s.
"My costume is the red king," Bellamy said. "It’s three or four different layers, lots of draping of material."

Jayne Drul, volunteer marketing co-ordinator for the show, said it was first performed in 1947, and numerous actors have been involved with it during that time. She herself performed in it as a seven-year-old and has continued with the production ever since. Her six-year-old daughter now plays an angel.

As for the vintage costumes, Drul noted a few have been revamped to keep them in good condition.

"It’s not going to look like we just... purchased a whole bunch of costumes to do the play. The kings for example have very extravagant costumes with jewels, crowns," she said.
Drul said the show is a "very interactive performance" making use of three stages. Professional lightning helps to set mood, and creates a sense of awe for the appearance of the archangel Gabriel. A narrator tells the story of the nativity from the back of the church, and a choir sings during the performance as well.

Bellamy said the show continues to be an exciting experience for the performers.

"I always look forward to the pageant as it comes around. The camaraderie among the congregation and interaction between the different cast members is exciting," he said.

Drul said the dedication of the congregation, who help do everything from build the stages to prepare meals for the actors, has helped the show’s longevity greatly.

"Everybody volunteers. I think it’s the dedication of people volunteering their time to be able to tell this story."

There is no cost to attend the pageant. It runs Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 4 p.m.

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