'Baas' of real sheep added to the festive fun at the Boaz Project carol concert staged in a barn near Sutton Scotney. 

The unscripted chorus came from a pen of sheep and donkeys.

Described as a cross between a nativity and a panto, the performance by adults with learning disabilities and autism, told the story of how God sent Jesus into the world from the perspective of a flock of sheep.

In one scene, seeing Bethlehem filling up, the sheep think there’s a big celebration. But when they escape to town, there is no party. Instead, they find the three kings and eventually in a stable they discover the real reason to celebrate and dance.

Thomas, the son of a volunteer, was cast as baby Jesus for the second year running. Now 16-months old, he toddled around rather than laid in the manger to the amusement of the audience. 

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Hampshire Chronicle: Boaz nativity and carol concert

The Barton Stacey Chamber Choir led the singalong while the Andover-based Salvation Army Brass Band added atmosphere. Steve Lee gave a short talk.

The show was directed by deputy manager Emily Lury, and had been in rehearsal for several weeks ahead of the performance at Hill Farm on Friday, December 1. 

Manager Stuart Palmer said: “The cast are normally busy working on our farm, and acting is very much a side project. Our shows are never polished, but they are heartfelt.”

At the start of the concert, Boaz Project trustee Lisa Hall welcomed everyone and thanked supporters: Simply Health for donating new heaters; UK Power Network Services for gifting food, games and two decorated trees for Christmas parties; Pole to Pole for supplying the marquee and Niall Holden for use of his car park at nearby Winchester Auto Barn. A collection and sale of handcrafted items raised £1,076.

The Boaz Project is an inclusive, farm-based charity, set up to provide a brighter future for people with learning disabilities and autism. 

It offers a variety of activities, including horticulture, animal care, woodworking, craft and cooking. The charity has a few spare places for new members and extra volunteers. 

For more details, visit boazproject.co.uk.