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University of Aberdeen/PA Wire
UK News

Blackadder star gives nativity story a modern twist

by Press Association

The Three Ships was put together by the Time Team star and renowned composer Professor Paul Mealor.

Narrated by special guests, it aims to address current issues while allowing the audience to enjoy their favourite Christmas carols.

It comes after Sir Tony's involvement in last year's Celebration of Carols in London, where Prof Mealor performed with the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir.

University of Aberdeen/PA Wire

Sir Tony said: "It all came out of just one conversation. I was blown away by Paul's interpretation of In The Bleak Midwinter at last year's concert, and afterwards we were chatting about how there are few pieces that challenge us to engage in the drama of the nativity.

"I thought if we could create something that fills that gap - that addresses modern day issues but gives us the opportunity to sing the carols we all love, and be dazzled by the performance of great musicians - then that would be something really special."

The annual event raises funding for research at the new NHS Anchor Centre, which will be a centre of excellence for treating people with cancer and blood disorders.

This reworked nativity's debut performance will be held at St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen, but it is hoped the concert will be performed by other groups in years to come.

Prof Mealor said: "I am confident that we've got this right and I think people are going to go away feeling good about it. There's some new music in there, but a lot of old favourites.

"The great thing about this - and it is thanks to Tony's writing - is that the tale has new ideas and there are things to question as well. It's a wonderful family event but there are questions in there that lifts it above just entertainment."

The fourth annual Celebration of Carols will take place at St Machar's Cathedral on December 12 and at St Marylebone Parish Church in London on December 21.

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