Niki Davies Launches Brand New Nativity
Following the launch of the new Niki Davies nativity, Follow The Star, her first in two years, we catch up with Niki Davies herself to learn a little about her writing process.
So, Niki Davies, Follow The Star is your new nativity, but what inspired you to write your first nativity?I wrote music from an early age and continued through teacher training college and into my school teaching career. As a music teacher, I found that there was a dearth of inspiring material and so I started writing songs and musicals when I began my 20 years of primary school teaching experience.
The nativity story is a wonderful part of a magical time of year for primary school children and naturally inspires inspiration.
When writing a nativity, how do you ensure it is so accessible for younger children?
I think that this is perhaps the most important consideration in the whole process. To get this right is to ensure that the children enjoy the nativity, love singing the songs and telling the story.
One of the most important things is to keep the music within the range that children of that age are able to sing. The lines should generally be kept simple and short to avoid placing the performers under too much pressure. Then it’s just about having plenty of parts so that all the children can get involved and have fun.
Read our latest blog and discover why it is the perfect time to purchase a new school nativity.
What is special about your new nativity, Follow The Star?
This is my first published nativity for two years and one I’ve been trying to write for some time. It captures the magic of the nativity story nicely, has a wonderful array of characters in an ever-growing caravan of followers. I also think that the songs are some of my very best which hopefully the children and the audience will love.
Listen to song clips and read script samples from Follow The Star.
Do you follow a particular process in your writing? What usually comes first, songs, lyrics or script?I don’t have a particular formula. I try to achieve a mind-set before I write, where I’m back in school with the children in a classroom situation. Usually I write the script first by visualising how it will pan out in the classroom and on stage. The songs are just concepts at this early stage but they then take shape as the play develops as a whole. I’ll often discard many songs before I'm happy with a final selection for my publisher. After the editing team at my publishers have had a first look through, there will be further changes or even complete re-writes before the finished product is ready for arrangements and backing tracks to be added.
Why do you think your nativities have proved to be so popular in schools up and down the country?
I think it comes down to a combination of teaching experience, music experience, loving what I do and ensuring that this comes across in my work. I've been writing for a while now and even now I am constantly adapting to the feedback from teachers for whom I have the utmost respect. Follow The Star draws on all of those things too. I hope that everyone enjoys it immensely.
Follow The Star, £21.95 Book + CD, is available now from The School Musicals Company
We know that any school performance involves a huge amount of work on the part of the staff. Read our helpful blog post which offers stress free suggestions for staging successful school musicals.