Christmas tableau marks its 37th season

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Dec. 12, 2011

What began as a candlelit Christmas service many years ago has developed into a cherished holiday tradition for staff and patients at Regional Mental Health Care St. Thomas (RMHC St. Thomas).

A French word meaning “living picture,” the term tableau describes a group of costumed actors carefully posed and theatrically lit through a progression of different scenes. Throughout the duration of each scene, the people do not speak or move. In between curtains, scripture readings are spoken allowed as a narrative to the nativity story, which also incorporates a full choir singing Christmas anthems and hymns.

The production, put on by staff volunteers who have been participating for several years, goes off each year without even one rehearsal. “We just do it on the day,” explains choir director Lynn Sloan. “Our tableau coordinator, Dr. Winston Wong, has a vision of what he thinks each scene should look like, and gives everyone their places.”

Sloan fondly recounts her over 30 year involvement of this special production: “Our Christmas tableau has become a holiday tradition at RMHC St. Thomas. People look forward to these performances each year which always end up standing room only. It’s so wonderful to see patients and their families, staff and members of the community becoming involved by watching, clapping and singing along with the hymns. Being part of this tradition is a humbling experience.”

No admission is charged for the performance but donations to Christmas Care, who distribute holiday groceries, toys and warm clothing to families in need, will be graciously accepted at the door.

What: The 37th Annual Christmas Tableau
Where: Auditorium- Regional Mental Health Care St. Thomas, 467 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas
When: Wednesday December 14. Performances at 1:30 and 7:30 pm

*Media are encouraged to attend the afternoon performance

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For more information, please contact:
Renee Sweeney, Communication and Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Phone: 519 646-6100 ext. 47788
Email: renee.sweeney@sjhc.london.on.ca

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