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Seren Bethlehem

The Seren Bethlehem programme is shown as a tribute to six year old Dafydd Wyn Bowen who died as a result of an accident on December 23rd.Dafydd and his family were part of Seren Bethlehem and appeared in the series. Our thoughts are with the family and the community of Bethlehem. The family's wishes were that the programme be aired as a tribute to Dafydd.

The full version of the Seren Bethlehem stage show

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Community project

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Seren Bethlehem follows all aspects of the project over eight episodes. From the tense auditions for the Three Wise Men to building a stable, finding the lambs and donkey and choosing a newborn to play the baby Jesus - it's all covered.

The Nativity Play itself will be screened on S4C on Christmas Eve.

Over a hundred people, including schoolchildren, local choirs, shopkeepers, firemen, rugby players and other members of the community, are taking part. Television presenter Heledd Cynwal, who lives in Llandeilo with her husband and three young children, is leading the challenge.

Local faces

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Heledd explains, "I was brought up in Bethlehem, so I know there's a strong community spirit here. But the response has even taken me by surprise. So many people have come together to make this project a success.

"My role is to steer the project and try to keep an eye on all aspects of the process. I'm like a fly-on-the-wall in all honesty - it's the community who get the job done."

Well-known impresario and producer, Stifyn Parry, lives in Llanddeusant, near Bethlehem. He is one of the series' executive producers on the co-production between Boomerang+ and Mr Producer.

"As part of the project, local children are designing a giant metal star, which will serve as a very special reminder of this community project as it will be raised in the area every Christmas. But the real stars of the production and the series are the people of the Bethlehem area."

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  • Heledd Cynwal

    Christmas has come early for the little village of Bethlehem this year as I have given the community a very special challenge.

    Their challenge is to put on a nativity play suitable to be televised on S4C on Christmas Eve - a real Christmas cracker for viewers.

    From designing the set to writing the script, creating the costumes and raising funds for charity - the community need to work together in order to make it work. I'll be the one keeping an eye on them all as they attempt to piece together the jigsaw.

    We hope that the project will help keep our Bethlehem on the map - it's always been a place of interest to people because of its name and its no stranger to television cameras.

    The village is close to my heart too. I was a pupil at the Bethlehem primary school and it was a big blow when it was forced to close down nine years ago as it was one of the only places that the villagers could meet socially.

    The great news is that the old school is now used as a community centre and the famous post office is open to the public there a few days a week too.

    I know there is a great community spirit here but I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive response to the challenge set. There's a huge amount of talent and ambition among the locals although they are all doing it voluntarily. It's brought people in from further afield - from Llangadog and Llandeilo and further afield at Llandovery and Cilycwm - all wanting to help in any way they can.

    From firemen, police officers, builders and rugby players to local business people, shop owners, school pupils and teachers, it's a chance for the whole community to get involved.

    Momentum is constantly building and Bethlehem, of course, is the ideal place to stage this festive challenge.

    Local children have designed a star that will be transformed into a large, metal star which will be erected somewhere in the area every Christmas from now on. It will be a lasting reminder of what should be a very memorable Christmas for the people of the Bethlehem area.

  • Arwyn Evans

    Chairman of the Central Committee

    I always thought that a story about the birth of Jesus would bring any community together and I've not been surprised by the efforts of Bethlehem, Llangadog, Llandeilo and beyond to create a real Christmas cracker!

    I'm the Chairman of the Central Committee or the 'pen bandit' - chief bandit - as I'm often called by the other committee members. We have the task of overseeing the project and providing help to all the sub-committees.

    What does my job entail? A little bit of everything to be honest. I provide support wherever it's needed; I keep order in the meetings and discuss new points of actions to make sure that the project continues to build momentum.

    The roles have been cast, rehearsals are ongoing and over a hundred members have joined the choir. It's all go too behind the scenes, with the set design, costumes, and marketing efforts. Everyone has come together to work hard as a team. It's no surprise for me to see rural Wales coming together and making a success out of this project.

    I can also reveal that tickets are now on sale from the Igam Ogam shop in Llandeilo and post offices in Bethlehem, Llangadog, Llandovery and Llandeilo. There's been a lot of interest already and ticket sales have been good. I'm confident that we'll welcome a packed house - or barn in our case - and raise a lot of money for charity at the same time.

    Our aim is to deliver a performance of the highest possible standard and I hope that we get a positive response from Wales and beyond.

  • Eirwyn Moses

    This is a big week for me and two of my colleagues at Llandeilo fire station. We're about to embark on a big challenge that will see us copy one of the most famous journeys of all time - that of the Three Wise Men.

    The Seren Bethlehem Three Wise Men are myself and my colleagues Wyn Bumford and Emyr Bowyer. We have just three days to find our way from Nasareth near Caernarfon to Bethlehem - a distance of over 120 miles.

    And how do we get there? By any means necessary. It's a real race against time because we have to reach Bethlehem by Sunday night for the public performance of the nativity play or our attempts will be in vain.

    We'll have bikes with us so I think we'll be doing quite a bit of cycling during the journey. But when our legs start to hurt, I'm sure we can call upon local fire stations for a lift along the route and there's the bus or the train I suppose - or even the odd donkey here and there?!

    It's quite a challenge, I'm the first to admit that, but we're confident we can rise to the occasion. We're sure we can reach Bethlehem in three days and raise a lot of money for charity along the way.

    The Seren Bethlehem committee have chosen to split all the money raised from the project between Air Ambulance Wales, Tŷ Hafan and Coleg Elidyr.

    To complete the task in hand, we need to be physically and mentally fit for the challenge and the cameras have been following us in the gym, on the road and in the fire station as we train for the big challenge.

    The big questions to be asked now are - will we get to the performance in time and by what means do we get from Nasareth to Bethlehem to make sure that we get there? Wish us luck!

© 2012 S4C
O Gymru / Made in Wales