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From under the duvet: Class 12’s radio play

Every year at Edinburgh Steiner School Class 12 have the challenge of performing The Three Kings’ Play.  It is tradition and an important part of the curriculum.


The Oberufer Christmas Plays are a trilogy which are traditionally performed in Steiner schools at Christmas time and the beginning of the new year in January. They began in the medieval times and were performed in the local taverns by the people of a small Austrian village. However, the first term of 2021 begins once again in lockdown, and our School unable to come together in our school hall to watch this performance.


As Advent 2020 began, Upper School Teacher, Hester Machin, was exploring how we could, during a pandemic, with all the added restrictions of social distancing and masks, continue this tradition.  She looked at risk assessments, discussed options and came up with something which would work in principle, though it restricted the acting space to the stage and the audience to several class bubbles.  We could make it happen. The School planned an initial distanced musical rehearsal outside on campus for the afternoon of Wednesday 6th January 2021… and then life happened.


So it was that Class 12’s initial meeting was on Google Meet and the conversation was around how to do the play as a radio production. The lessons learned from the last Class 12’s graduation play, ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, were dusted off and put into action.


The musical element of ‘The Three Kings’ was, however, a new challenge.  Working in total isolation from each other, rehearsing songs, is difficult to say the least; and we were very fortunate to have the support of recorded voice guide tracks for all of the songs.


The lessons learned from the last Class 12’s graduation play, ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, were dusted off and put into action.  However, the musical element of ‘The Three Kings’ was a new challenge.  Working in total isolation from each other rehearsing songs is difficult to say the least and we were very fortunate to have the support of recorded voice guide tracks for all of the songs.



Doing the play has been very different for me this year. Normally I would watch the Three Kings Play in the hall. I have done so for the past 8 years, but this year when it is finally my turn to do the Three Kings’ Play, little did I know it would be completely different to what any class 12 had done before. Normally the play would happen in the hall but this year we did a radio play and all the scenes were recorded voice only and it was all done on Google Meet. It was weird doing it this way after all the years of watching it in the hall but life has many twists and turns and this year was the first time the play was done differently. This year it was much more technical than all the other years since we had to do it all online. To sum it all up this year was a new adventure.

Dominik-Class 12



You don’t appreciate how hard it is recording things at home and I’m suddenly very impressed with all the people who have carried on during lockdown because carrying on recording was their only option and so they made it work. The rehearsing went quite normally but then I found out how we had to record the play. It was difficult juggling my laptop and phone and script while wrestling with my duvet. But it was pretty fun actually seeing everyone in their makeshift recording studios (blankets) from my duvet tent. I was almost suffocating and my neck was aching from having to hold up the weight of my duvet, but you know, all for the cause. Now I know the meaning of sacrifice.

Tom – Class 12



My Experience of doing the Three Kings Play during Lockdown, caused by Covid-19, was quite special. We had to deal with certain aspects that come up if you are making a radio play, that I had never thought of. From recording under a duvet in a silent bedroom, to adding and finding background sound effects and everything in between. It was actually quite fun. I like technology and I am never a fan of stages, therefore it worked out fine for me. The difficulties of making a Radio play for me were that the teamwork that we normally would have had, was limited. Every year the Three Kings Play has been on stage, but we had the unexpected challenge of performing it online. All in all, I think we managed our little special adventure quite well and I hope you will enjoy it.

Hagen – Class 12



I found doing the Kings Play as a radio play challenging, but I enjoyed it. It’s unfortunate we didn’t all manage to act out our character fully, but the radio play is a different experience and one I wouldn’t have got otherwise. The visual images and uploading of all the sections was definitely challenging, however I enjoyed seeing everyone recording under their bed sheets.

Celia-Class 12

Illustrations by Class 12 pupil Celia Rafferty


So, I am still looking forward to the time when I direct a play on the school stage…fingers crossed it will happen this session!

Hester Machi


Listen here: The Three Kings Radio Play

Oberufer Plays

The Paradise Play recounts the fall of Adam and Eve. The children do not normally view this play until they have experienced the first Old Testament main lesson in Class 3. The Shepherds’ Play, full of humour, follows the three shepherds in their search for baby Jesus. Both plays were performed to the School in the last week of term. The Kings’ Play, which come to the stage in January, depicts the journey of the Magi, and is watched by pupils from Class 6 upwards.


The performers are drawn from staff, pupils and alumni, and there is much secrecy around the casting, which is not revealed until the day; offered as a gift to the pupils of the school from their teachers; and presented to the wider school community and the general public too during the festive season.


See upcoming events at Edinburgh Steiner School by visiting our School calendar.