Forty-nine years ago, Marion Avenue Baptist Church put together the very first Live Animal Christmas Play. What started out as a simple production has turned into a Christmas event that inspires thousands each year. People from all over the Midwest have made the Live Animal Christmas Play a family Christmas tradition.

Taking place in the church auditorium, the play features a series of theatrical scenes bringing to life the Christmas story. The journey will take you from a market place in Nazareth to the Bethlehem manger where Jesus was born. You will be inspired as you watch the angel appear to the shepherds bringing them “good tidings of great joy.”

A vast array of animals are also included throughout the play. From Mary riding a donkey down the center aisle to a wiseman entering in on a full-sized camel, you will experience the Bible times come to life all around you. Enjoy the music of Christmas all throughout the play as the actors sing heart-warming songs of the season.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-19)

Important Information

A well-staffed nursery and our restroom facilities are located downstairs.

For your safety, please remain seated throughout the play, except in case of emergency.

We ask that you turn off or silence any cell phones/pagers so that others may fully enjoy the play.

Fog effects will be used throughout this production. They have been theatrically tested and proven to be harmless. However, if you are sensitive to these elements, feel free to move closer to the back.

How can I support the play?

The show is free of charge, however if you wish to give something you can do so through a free-will offering at the end of the show.


Answers to your questions about the Christmas Show!

When does the work for the play begin?

The play’s preparation and production begins in October every year.

How many people are involved in the production?

About 300 church members are involved some how in different areas. This includes actors, costume crew, hair and make-up artists, set designers, prop crews, sound men, nursery workers, spotlight men, attic crews and countless others who help to make the play a success. They all work on a volunteer basis.

Who makes the props, stage sets, and costumes?

All the props, sets, and the majority of the costumes are made by our church members.

How does the angel fly?

She is wearing a harness connected to a complex fly system designed by Hall Flying Associates.

How do the cow, horse, mule, and camel get into the church?

Right up the steps – just like you did! Only they are not nearly as cooperative or as excited about being here!

If the entrance cost is free, how do you fund the expense of putting on this show?

A free-will offering is taken at the conclusion of each showing, however, the bulk of the cost is covered by the sacrificial giving of the people of the Marion Avenue Baptist Church. They are passionate about showing people the true meaning of Christmas!


All shows are held at the Marion Avenue Baptist Church.

215 South Marion Avenue

Washington, Iowa 52353

(855) 825.4113