St. James School students perform in the school’s recent presentation of A Play in a Manger.

St. James School students perform in the school’s recent presentation of A Play in a Manger.

A play in the manger

Vernon's St. James School stages the student production of A Play in a Manger.

Tannis Nelson

Submitted to The Morning Star

The fictional town of Centreville’s Christmas extravaganza recently took over the St. James School stage during the student’s production of A Play in a Manger.

The play, created by Steve Moore, Rob Howard and David Guthrie and starring the St. James School Grade 7 class, began with the grand vision of Cecil V. DeVille: a small-town writer, director and legend in his own mind.

Mr. DeVille, played by Adian Foster, is committed to holding the biggest and best Christmas show that the town has ever seen by acting out the original Christmas story with every special effect imaginable, from pyrotechnics and dancing camels, to the biggest, most marvelous manger ever!

Adian’s performance set the stage, as he played Mr. DeVille with the perfect amount of enthusiasm and panache.

The histrionics of Mr. DeVille’s character was perfectly contrasted with Carter Leahy’s portrayal of Ben, the wise old prop builder who stoically reminds Mr. DeVille about the power in the simplicity of the original Christmas story.

The show was riddled with laughter as a result of the antics of the eccentric town council, performed perfectly by Jacob Carpenter, Molly Jensen and Courtney Jack, and the hilarity crescendoed when the zany pyro-technician of the performance, played by Nicholas Barber, blew up all of Mr. DeVille’s extravagant set.

The plot flowed perfectly with the guidance of Georgia Wenger and Delaney Marchand, in their roles of the on-site news anchors, and neatly knitted amongst the comedic scenes were moments of sentiment where the audience accompanied Mr. DeVille on the path to his realization of the importance of the original Christmas story.

These moments included gentle reminders embedded in soliloquies given by Mr. DeVille’s hired actors, Bailey and Taylor, played by Kaitlyn Budgen and Mia Hyer, and in a final, beautiful reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2:8-14, read by Nadia Nelson-Shah and Nathan Glessing.

With its quick-witted script, beautiful costumes, sweetly sung Christmas carols, engaging acting ensemble, and superb direction by St. James School principal Paul Rossetti, this theatre experience was the perfect combination of laugh-out-loud hilarity and quiet sentiment, providing a timely reminder to the audience of the reason for the season.

St. James School is a welcoming school community, inspired and guided by faith.

St. James is committed to providing academic excellence while inspiring students to be enthusiastic, caring and active participants in a wide range of sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities.

To learn more about this best-kept-secret of a school, visit


Vernon Morning Star