Christmas Nativity plays: for the parents its memories of a tea towel headdress, the hope of playing Mary or the Donkey and (sometimes) disappointing relegation to third shepherd on left. For the children, it's an opportunity to star. Curtains go up across the length and breadth of the country. Costumes are stitched, tickets are printed, tears are wiped and videos are compiled as keepsakes. Here, directors, teachers, pupils and families offer an insight into the hard work that goes into staging the festive spectaculars.