Who is Saint Nicholas?

by Marilyn Mills

Shield of St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg
St Nicholas School Badge, Pietermaritzburg,
Republic of South Africa

Junior Primary Play from St. Nicholas Diocesan School (Anglican)
Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa



Scene 1

Children arriving at school in Kombis, bakkies, on foot. Children all in school uniform with St Nicholas bags on their backs. One child in 'civvies' The children greet each other, laugh, chat etc.

CHILD IN CIVVIES: What school do you all go to?

CHILD IN UNIFORM: Hey, everybody, this boy wants to know what school we go to!

(TUNE ?)
Perhaps rap the song

St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg
"We are the pupils of St Nicholas. . . ."
St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg, Republic of south Africa, Junior Primary Play, 1998

We are the pupils of St Nicholas
We are the pupils of St Nics
We are the pupils of St Nicholas
and we are as proud as we can be

We come from far and near
We walk, we drive, we ride
We love our school so much
We never run and hide!

We are the pupils of St Nicholas
We are the pupils of St Nic's
We are the pupils of St Nicholas
and we are as proud as we can be!'

Yes, that's right' we go to St Nicholas School.
We are very proud of our school.
Have you not heard about our school?
Have you not heard about our choir?
Have you not heard about our SOCCER team?

No, No, I am new to Pietermaritzburg.
I don't know much about anything here.
But tell me, WHO IS ST NICHOLAS?

Hey, everybody, this boy wants to know who St Nicholas is?

shaking their heads, rubbing their chins
No, No, No, we don't know!

But we should know—I am sure someone has told us.
he rubs his chin
I think we had better find out!
Come with us
he turns to the child in civvies and beckons to him
and we will find out.

They go off singing 'We are the pupils of St Nicholas. . . . ' The curtains close. 

Scene 2

Two children come onto the stage in front of the curtain

Come with me. We will go and ask SIR who St Nicholas is. He takes the child's hand, they cross the stage and knock on Sir's door Knock!, knock! Sir comes onto the stage from behind the door.

St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg
St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg, Republic of south Africa, Junior Primary Play, 1998

Hello, my boy, may I help you?

Yes, sir, may I ask you a question?

Yes, my child, what is it?

Sir, this boy is new to Pietermaritzburg, and he asked us what school we go to and we told him ST NICHOLAS SCHOOL very proud and then he asked us who St Nicholas is and he hangs his head in shame I am sure we are supposed to know, but, Sir, none of us know who St Nicholas is and we thought we would ask you. . . .he looks up smiling at SIR

Well done, my child. Yes that is a very important question and all the children at this school need to know the answer. Come and sit down and I will tell you the story. they move to a rocking chair on one of the side wings of the stage—this could be set up as Sir's office—Sir sits in the rocking chair and the children sit on cushions around him. The curtains open on a village market street scene in Myra

Scene 3

Long, long ago in a city called Myra there lived a Bishop called Nicholas. He was a very tall man, with stooped shoulders, a grave face and dignified manner and he loved to walk through the market place every morning to talk to the people of his parish.

The scene comes alive. People buying and selling. People with animals, fruit, veggies, flowers, a blacksmith, an inn-keeper, a baker, ladies, gentlemen, urchins. The Bishop walks from one to another listening, talking, nodding etc.

"Who will buy this wonderful morning" from Oliver, "One rose, rose for sale" from Oliver, songs from My Fair Lady-"the market scene;" Mary Poppins; Oliver.
In one comer there appears to be a lot of chatter and commotion. The Bishop walks over to see what is going on.

1st VOICE: Is he going to sell them?


2nd VOICE: All three?

THE BLACKSMITH: Yes all three!


BLACKSMITH: Oh, he hasn't any money. He cannot feed them.

ALL TOGETHER, throwing up their hands in horror Oh ! No!

BLACKSMlTH: Yes, Silas is going to sell them right here where we sell the horses. One at a time! The first one goes on sale tomorrow morning.

ALL TOGETHER, react in horror Oh No! They chatter amongst themselves

The Bishop goes off sadly—the curtain closes

Scene 4

The Bishop walks on to the stage in front of the curtains.

He calls to his servant
Jeremy, my servant, I want you to go and find out who Silas is and find out what he is selling. Whatever it is he is going to sell tomorrow is making the whole town very unhappy. I must help in some way.

Yes, your grace. He bows and goes off stage

Scene 5

The curtains open on a Chapel Scene. Choir boys and girls on either side of an altar. The children sing while the Bishop kneels at the altar. The Servant comes in as the choir stops. He taps the Bishop on his shoulder. The Bishop stands up and turns to the servant.

Yes, my son, what have you found out?

Sir, Silas is a very poor man.He only has rags for clothes.He has no food, he has no money. . . .He hangs his head in sorrow

Well go on!

St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg
Two of the daughters to be sold
St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa, Junior Primary Play, 1998

SERVANT, sighing
He has three beautiful daughters and he is going to have to SELL THEM! ALL THREE OF THEM! Otherwise they will all starve to death.

BISHOP, in horror,
This must not happen!! Thank you, my man, now please leave me to pray. God will tell me what to do.
The Servant leaves, the Bishop kneels to pray, the children sing quiet hymns. Suddenly the Bishop—stands up)
I KNOW WHAT TO DO!! I will put three gold coins in a leather bag. I will take the leather bag to Silas' home and while he is asleep I will throw the purse in at the window.
The curtains close

Scene 6

The Bishop comes on to the stage in front of the curtains in the comer of the stage is a little house with a door and a window. He creeps stealthily up to the window. He beckons the audience to be quiet

Good they are all asleep. I will throw this leather bag through the window and hopefully when they wake up in the morning they will find the coins.
He moves off the stage and the lights go dim. Gradually the lights come on. The father and his three daughters come out of the house. They are dressed in rags.,

Oh, my daughters, come here. Come and give your father a hug.
They all hug each other
Today I am so sad. On this day I will have to sell one of you to get some money. Otherwise we will all starve to death. Now which one of you will it be?
He starts examining his daughters
To the eldest daughter You are well built and strong. You will work hard. You will earn a lot of money. To the second eldest daughter
You are beautiful and gifted. You will earn a lot of money. and you , my youngest daughter, are beautiful inside. You are kind, you are gentle and you will earn a lot of money. Oh, why does this have to happen to me? How am I going to be able to make this decision?
Just then the oldest daughter find the leather bag

Father, what is this? I have never seen this before!

Let me have a look. He opens the bag 'Look, look, we are rich, we are rich. Someone has given us three gold coins! He holds them up for everyone to see Now I will not have to sell my daughters! Thank you, God, for saving my daughters!

They all dance around and hug one another. The father stops and looks puzzled

I wonder who could have given us the money. Come, daughters, lets go to the village and tell them the good news.

They go off the stage


The village market scene again. Everyone is busy doing their own thing. (Some more songs could be sung) Silas and his daughters run on excitedly.

Listen everyone, listen, the most wonderful news! Someone has been so kind. They have given me three gold coins and I do not have to sell my daughters!'
There is a lot of murmuring, cheering, some cross faces and slapping of thighs by those who wanted to buy the daughters but generally good cheer. This might be a good time to have a cheery song.

Does anyone know who this kind person could be? I would like to thank him or her for saving my daughters.

There is a general murmuring and shaking of heads. Just then the Bishop comes on stage. Everyone crowds around him kissing his ring and bowing.

Bishop, do YOU know who gave me the coins to save my daughters?

Silas, I am so happy for you.
he hugs the man
God works in strange ways. GOD LEADS ME! He leads me to help people. I was lucky enough to hear about your plight and I was able to help. We should all listen to God and help people wherever we can.

Oh thank you, kind Bishop Nicholas, thank you!

I do not want you to thank me. In return for the good that has come your way you must now go out and do good deeds.He turns and walks away waving to his people

Scene 8

Sir and the other 2 children are still sitting on the outer wing made up as a study

And that is the story of the St Nicholas! All over the World people call him by different names Some call him FATHER CHRISTMAS, some call him SANTA CLAUS. In 1930 Coca Cola dressed him up in a red suit with black boots and the image has been accepted throughout the world. Yet everyone knows him as a kind person who cares enough to give everyone presents.

Here St. Nicholas or Fr Christmas could come in with children singing a medley of Christmas songs. Jingle Bells, Rudolph the red nose reindeer etc.

Turning to the two children
Now who do YOU think led St Nicholas?


Yes, you are right. God led him—just like God leads us at St Nicholas School. This is our badge. He holds up the badge. This cross represents God and the church. The 3 coins represent the presents he gave, our motto is "Deus Ducit" GOD LEADS. Just like He led the people when he sent his only Son in the form of a tiny baby to teach the people on earth the way to follow God.

St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg
St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg, Republic of south Africa, Junior Primary Play, 1998

Here have a short Nativity tableau with a few Christmas carols

Scene 9

He fetches Sir from the audience
Thank you, Sir, for telling us that wonderful story. God led you to start St Nicholas School here in Pietermaritzburg nine years ago and now God is leading you somewhere else. We are all sad to see you go but we know that God is looking after us and looking after you and we want to wish you well. Please will you all stand while we sing our school song?

Finish with the school song

St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg
St. Nicholas School, Pietermaritzburg, Republic of south Africa, Junior Primary Play, 1998

WHO IS ST NICHOLAS was written by Marilyn Mills and performed for the leave-taking of the Headmaster. It could easily be adapted to other situations.

Who is St Nicholas, a Junior Primary Play from St. Nicholas Diocesan School, Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa, is used by permission.

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