THE true meaning of Christmas will take centre stage at a school nativity play next week.

Forget modern gimmicks, Cockton Hill Infants’ School in Bishop Auckland has taken a traditional approach to its nativity production Born in a Barn.

Reception class pupils will bring the Christmas story to life through words and music, from Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, to the Wise Men presenting their gifts to baby Jesus.

The 57 youngsters, all aged four or five years old, have been practising together for weeks, and staff have worked hard sourcing costumes and making scenery to help create a magical atmosphere.

Laura Dixon, who teaches the reception class alongside Tom Cuthbertson, said: “We like to put on a traditional nativity play because it reminds us all of the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it.

“The children have read the story in the classroom and there has been a lot of work building up to this.

“They are such a lovely group and they have all done so well in rehearsals.”