In most parts of Britain, the Nativity Play at Christmas is the central part of any school year, where primary school children are concerned. Whoever gets to play Mary will undoubtedly go on in life to either create her own million-dollar cosmetics empire, or become a teenage mother. There is no in-between. The rest of the children are hierarchically organised into kings, angels, shepherds and barn animals, with twinkling stars represented by the kids who frequently trip over their own shoelaces.
However, given that the real power of the Christ Story is actually to do with his demise on the cross and subsequent resurrection, it always surprised me there was no nativity-style equivalent play taking place in schools just before the Easter holidays.
I asked a primary school teacher I knew about this once. “To avoid child abuse,” she replied. When I questioned her further she explained that in every class there is at least one little bastard who it would be far too tempting to nail to a piece of wood.