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The King’s Birthday

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To provide a ready-made presentation for Christmas.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly offers a ready-made Christmas presentation that can easily be expanded and adapted for individual use. Although it is aimed at KS1 children, it could be presented by a younger KS2 class for KS1 assembly – if so, the idea of giving to others, so important at this time of year, can be stressed.
  • To make the script easier to read and learn, we recommend copying and pasting the script part of this assembly, in a larger text size and double spacing, before printing.
  • Characters: Storyteller; Martha (or use own name if preferred); Mice (as many as needed); three Shepherds (more if you like); three Kings (can have servants if more parts needed); Mary; Joseph; Angels; Star.
  • The main characters will need to learn their lines, and several rehearsals will ensure a more polished performance. The storyteller could read his/her lines. The dialogue is deliberately simple and where it is given to a group of characters, such as Mice or Shepherds, individual lines can be shared out.
  • Costumes can easily be made in the traditional style (there is plenty of scope for parental/grandparental involvement here!), e.g. dressing gowns for shepherds and Joseph; headdresses made from striped tea towels and secured with a necktie look reasonably authentic. Curtains make excellent cloaks for the kings; crowns can be made from card covered in silver or gold foil and decorated with (wine-gum) jewels. The mice can wear matching grey sweaters and tights or trousers with a tacked-on tail. Mouse masks can be made but do not let them cover the face completely as this restricts the clarity of speech. Martha could wear a long plain dress and will need a shawl, Mary a plain dress (traditionally blue) and a veil. Angels should be dressed in straight long white tunics, with tinsel haloes. The Star can be dressed similarly, carrying a large shiny silver star mounted on a covered silver stick.
  • You will need a cake (or a covered box painted to look like a cake), toy lambs for the shepherds, and suitable trinkets for the kings to carry. A simple manger can be made from a painted cardboard box, with some straw to put in it and a doll for baby Jesus.
  • It would help to have some suitable Christmas music for the procession and Nativity.
  • You can find more about using drama in assemblies in our Resources section.

Assembly

Storyteller: Martha had heard that a very special baby had been born in Bethlehem and that he was the Son of God. So she wanted to give him a present. She decided that she would make a cake for a special birthday celebration.


(The last verse of ‘In the bleak midwinter’ could be used here: ‘What can I give him, poor as I am,’ sung by a group while she mimes making her cake.)

Martha: What a beautiful cake I have made. (She holds up the cake to show everyone.) I have heard that a new baby king has been born in Bethlehem and I am going to take it there for a party.

Storyteller: So she put on her shawl, picked up the cake and off she went. She walked a long way. (Martha walks around the stage.) And at last she sat down to rest. Along came some mice.

Mice: (sniffing the air) Mmmm, what a fine-looking cake. May we have some?

Martha: No! You may not!

Mice: (in a very appealing voice) Just a little bite?

Martha: No! This cake is for the new king’s birthday.

Mice: Then may we just smell the cake?

Martha: Well, I suppose there’s no harm in that.

Storyteller: But the mice jumped up and one of them snatched the cake.

(The mice run offstage with the cake.)
Martha: Stop! Stop! Help! Help!

(Enter shepherds.)

Storyteller: Just then some shepherds came along.

Shepherds: Whatever is the matter?

Martha: I made a cake for the new king's birthday and the mice have stolen it!

Shepherds: Never mind, we’re going to see the new king too. Come with us – you can give him one of our lambs.

Martha: Thank you, but I’d rather go back home and make another cake. I’ll catch up with you.

Shepherds: Well, if you must. We'll see you in Bethlehem. Goodbye.

Martha: I hope so. Goodbye.

Storyteller: So Martha went back home and made another cake. (Martha mimes this action.) When she had baked it, she set off. But once again she met the mice.

Mice: Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! (They scuttle up to Martha. She holds the cake in the air.)

Martha: No, you can’t. Not this time! Go away! Shoo! Shoo!

(The mice run away. Martha looks worried. Enter three kings, led by the Star.)

Storyteller: Just then along came three kings, who were following a star.

Kings: What is the matter? Can we help? We are going to find the new king who has been born in Bethlehem.

Martha: Oh, yes please. I promised to meet my shepherd friends in Bethlehem. Can I come with you?

Kings: Yes, of course you can.

Storyteller: So off they all went together, led by the Star.

(Exit offstage. This group could go round and form a procession at the back of the hall while the Nativity tableau is being assembled, and then reappear, passing through the audience up a centre aisle to get back onto the stage.
Enter Joseph carefully escorting Mary, followed by some angels. One of the angels can place a stool/chair centre stage for Mary. Once Mary is seated, another angel can place the manger with ‘Baby Jesus’ in it in front of her.
Re-enter the Star, the three kings and the shepherds, carrying their gifts, followed by Martha carrying her cake. As they come up onto the stage they bow before Mary and place their gifts on the floor in front of the manger. Martha is the last one to present her gift.)

Storyteller: After a long journey, everyone arrived at the place where Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were. They gave them their gifts. But then there was an unexpected arrival.

(Enter mice carrying a paper bag.)

Mice: What a lovely cake. We so enjoyed it. But we didn’t eat it all. Look, we saved a slice for the baby’s party.

Storyteller: So the mice joined the baby’s birthday party. They gave a slice of Martha’s cake although I think they had eaten more than their fair share! No one minded, though, because the baby, when he grew up, wanted everyone to join his party and have lots of fun. He said, the more you give, the more you get. What a special baby, what a special party!

Time for reflection

Mary: Thank you for the gifts that you bring for his sake,
And especially to Martha who made this fine cake.
Let all who are here come and share some today.
A cake made with love for my son’s special day.

Joseph: As you open your presents at Christmas,
And you have lots of lovely new things,
Please remember the birth of Jesus,
The Lord, the King of kings.

Song/music

‘Mary had a baby, yes Lord’ (Come and Praise,123)
The assembly can conclude with ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’.

Publication date: December 2004   (Vol.6 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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