Image courtesy of Michael Wolfe at www.wolfewisecreative.com.au
Every great event begins with a great idea, and wonderful people who breathe life into those ideas.
This breath began in three men; Andrew Hagen, Andrew Hitchick and Damien Rice, members of the Gosford Seventh-day Adventist Church, who, in 1999, excited by the concept of a Christmas story come to life, gathered a team and commenced a very small drama program and carols program. It was held at the Central Coast Adventist School with the blessing of Dean Bennetts, a principal who would go on to generously support the event until he retired from this position at the end of 2016.
Numbers attending the event were small initially, but they grew as word spread and the program continued to develop under the wonderful enthusiasm and creativity of leader, Jacki Cooke. Jacki, supported by her parents Rose and Steve Smith, led the event in 2003; it ran for one night and 350 people attended. This was the last year that the event would run on the Sunday night only.
In 2004, a new leadership team commenced; Andrea Scoines, Sonia Allum, Rose and Steve Smith. The latter three went on to work together for this event, for many years. The now, two night program, was attended by 800 people, in spite of a summer storm severely affecting the Monday night performances. This was extremely stressful especially on the sound/technical volunteers led by Jono Faull and Trevor Stonham.
In spite of the foreboding weather of the year before, 2005 would see a three night production and by 2006, over 2000 people were in attendance.
2008 was a year that saw over 3000 people enjoying the program and up to 400 volunteers were involved, mostly from the Seventh-day Adventist church community and the Central Coast Adventist School, who ensured this gift to the local community happened each year.
Numbers continued to grow from hereon and after this time, those going on the drama tour have generally been between 3500 and 4000.
In 2011 and 2012, the amazing artistic talents of Kay and Dave Holman led the event. Upon their retirement, this was followed by a stronger involvement of the Central Coast Adventist School, a team initially led by Dean Bennetts; this mantle was then carried by Brenton Luchow and Carey McDonald in the years thereafter.
This team called a break in the event for 2017, and for a conclusion of the event in 2018, but a meeting of interested persons deemed there to be an ongoing need and support of the program so it moved forward once again in 2019.
Melissa Sanburg, Sonia Allum and a new team (and many long-term supporters as well) brought fresh energy to the event, supported by Tony Kent, the current principal of the Central Coast Adventist School. This event sadly had another interruption due to COVID-19. Hopefully with viruses and logistics sorted we can commence again in 2023.