Nativity play is snapped up!

Mary Cliff and Kelly Fort with their nativity play 'Prickly Hay'.'Photo Ben Parsons

Mary Cliff and Kelly Fort with their nativity play 'Prickly Hay'.'Photo Ben Parsons

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TWO Burnley playwrights have had their new work snapped up by a top production company.

Mary Cliff and Kelly Fort created the children’s Nativity hoedown play “Prickly Hay” together and recruited youngsters from the Arden Youth Choir to sing the catchy tracks to go with the script.

The pair were delighted when Out of the Ark, the UK’s biggest primary school music education production company, heard their play and agreed to buy the script, music and songs.

But the Middlesex-based company brought in their own children’s choir to sing the songs which include “The Stable Hoedown” and “Clip-Clop Little Donkey”. Scriptwriter Mary Cliff, who has worked in Burnley schools for more than 40 years, said: “They loved it and thought it sounded great.”

However, the two long-term friends are over the moon their work has been such a hit and the festive play could be performed in schools across the UK this Christmas as well as in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Mum-of-three Kelly, who penned the songs to go with the script, said: “It is very exciting and it shows that if you believe in something you can do it.

“It will be going out internationally. We are just really chuffed about it.”

The play is a modern twist on the Christmas story which sees a boy called Sam working in a Bethlehem stable where all his endeavours go unnoticed.

But the down-trodden boy realises his true worth when some very important visitors come to stop at the stable.

The original idea came from a song called “Prickly Hay” written by Kelly when she was just 16 which has become an institution over the past 20 years for youngsters across Burnley.

Mary, who has since formed Marvellous Stories with Kelly, said: “I used to take the song around schools in Burnley and it has always been really popular. We thought we should perhaps do something with it and we got together and this is the result.

“We have so many more ideas. We want to try to produce two every year for the next few years.”

The pair are already putting the finishing touches to a new summer play with a new twist on “Jonah and the Whale”.

“Prickly Hay” is available to buy on The Out of the Ark website.