Artists have put together a festive show which will bring the story of Christmas to life using puppetry, comedy and sound “to challenge the stereotype of what church is like”.

St Mary’s Church in Church End, Walthamstow will host ‘If On A Winter’s Night’ based on an established Christmas tradition Nine Lessons and Nine Carols held in Anglican churches around the world during Advent.

The aim of the show is to inspire people of all faiths and none and build on St Mary’s annual commitment to public art at Christmas after the success of last year’s Advent(us).

As well as featuring traditional Bible readings, the show will encourage the audience to consider elements of the ancient story from the perspective of other religions and will explore the physiological experience of a woman discovering she is carrying a baby.

Revd Vanessa Conant, Rector at St Mary’s said: “We have decided for the second straight year to open St Mary’s Walthamstow to the entire community by putting art at the heart of our Christmas message and by making a concerted effort to open the doors of the church to everyone, regardless of their background or familiarity with church.

“That’s something we aim to do all the time, but we find that people are even more open to coming into the church building at Christmastime.

“This is the second consecutive year our Arts Collective has tried to challenge the stereotype of what church is like.

“If On A Winter’s Night invites people who do not necessarily observe Christmas to consider what it is really about, while inviting those for whom this is one of the most important celebrations of their year to think in new ways about Christmas.

“It’s an open-ended exploration of an incredible story.”

The project was curated by St Mary’s Art Collective, which is made up of volunteers, alongside puppeteer and installation artist Gary Rutter, composer Jonathan Rathbone and other artists.

A grant of £1.67m from Heritage Lottery Fund given to the church last year and a donation from Walthasmtow-based estate agents The Stow Brothers will cover the costs.

Hundreds of free tickets will be given away ahead of the show on Friday, December 15.

For tickets and more information click here